Our view: Public art benefits community, artists

Category: Architecture

Written By: Nicole McBride

Date: March 29, 2021

From Amarillo Globe-News 

The addition of public art within a community not only showcases local talent in innovative and compelling ways, but it also says something about the importance the arts and culture hold within that community. 

     That’s one of the reasons we were encouraged by the recent emergence of an idea that will make public art part of the Thompson Park Aquatic Facility that is in the works near Wonderland Amusement Park. 

    Michael Kashuba, the city’s director of parks and recreation, discussed the worthwhile vision with Amarillo’s Beautification and Public Arts Advisory Board. One possibility, according to our recent story, will place rotating galleries of public art at two high-profile points within the facility – the main entrance and the lazy river, a featured attraction at the park. 

Adding public art to city attractions is a great idea, particularly since there is no shortage of artistic talent in the city or the region. It would showcase great work and put it before an audience that largely might not have the opportunity to see it otherwise. 

     The Thompson Park Aquatic Facility, with an $8 million budget, will be located on six acres. Parkhill is the facility planners, and Wiley Hicks is overseeing construction with the project tentatively scheduled to be open in time for the Memorial Day weekend. 

The holiday is right around the corner, so officials have talked with a local artist to produce the first pieces. Likewise, city officials are still working on the ins and outs of a long-term public art policy. There are more moving parts to this than one might imagine, the most important of which is selection criteria and the length of time work will be on display. Ultimately, the goal is to have a steady rotation of artists, building appreciation and creating an opportunity to purchase their work. 

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