New Public Art Commission launched in FD

Council approves group on 6-1 vote

A new commission will take charge of murals and sculptures in public spaces around Fort Dodge.

The City Council on Monday established a nine-member Fort Dodge Public Art Commission.

The commission’s members still must be appointed.

Councilman Jeff Halter was skeptical of the need for a commission. He said he believed the community has accomplished a lot in the realm of public art without a commission. He said that sometimes establishing a commission gets in the way of progress.

Councilman Terry Moehnke said setting up a formal Public Art Commission is a way to become more uniform in the approach to creating and maintaining public art.

Eric Anderson, the director of the Blanden Memorial Art Museum, said the commission will have two roles. He said it will establish new public artworks and it will take care of existing artworks.

He added that the commission will focus on physical objects. That, he said, sets it apart from the Fort Dodge Fine Arts Association, which focuses on performing arts.

Anderson said other Iowa cities similar in size to Fort Dodge have public art commissions.

The council unanimously approved the first reading of the measure creating the commission.

Then Moehnke recommended setting aside usual procedure and establishing the commission with one council vote instead of the usual three votes.

That recommendation was approved on a 6-1 vote. Councilmembers Kim Alstott, Neven Conrad, Dave Flattery, Lydia Schuur, Dean Hill and Moehnke voted yes.

Halter voted no, saying he wanted to hear public feedback before making the final vote on the commission.