Public art projects are on their way to getting a big boost in Squamish.
On Tuesday (Feb. 18), District of Squamish officials supported a motion to add $27,956 to the $20,000 already allocated for the community's involvement in the outdoor art exhibit Vancouver Biennale in 2014.
“We don't have any reserve funds set aside for arts programs,” said Corien Speaker, the district's chief administrative officer, adding the money will likely come from taxation.
The two-year event has expanded from its original component — hosting a project by world-renowned Brazilian artist Vik Muniz, Speaker told council at its Committee of the Whole meeting.
Biennale now includes an additional donated public art piece by wood carver Hugo Franca, the environmentally inspired Blue Trees art installation, an artist-in-residence program for 20 individuals and a school program.
Overall, the additional municipal funding for the two-year initiative is $47,137, including the pending $27,956 backed by council this week, Speaker said.
Krisztina Egyed, Squamish's Biennale community liaison, has raised $151,600 for the event, with Biennale pitching in $214,109. Coun. Susan Chapelle said she was happy to support the exhibit. The amount of donations put forward by the community is remarkable, she noted.
Coun. Doug Race was the only lawmaker to vote against the funding request. At previous meetings, he voiced concerns over cutting social programming while supporting the arts program. Coun. Ron Sander was absent from the meeting.
Biennale is not a district undertaking, Mayor Rob Kirkham said, noting the project has to be driven by the arts organization.
“Going forward, it needs to be clear who is driving the ship,” he said.
The funding request must come before council at a regular business meeting for final approval.