Finalists chosen for public art to accompany Short Street garage

Thursday, April 26, 2012 | 5:55 p.m. CDT; updated 10:34 p.m. CDT, Thursday, April 26, 2012
These photos show examples of artwork by the three artists competing to design public art to accompany Short Street garage. Columbia City Council will pick the winner in May or June.

COLUMBIA — Three Columbia artists are among the finalists chosen to design public art to accompany the city's Short Street garage.

The Commission on Cultural Affairs Standing Committee on Public Art met for three hours Tuesday to go through 27 applications from Missouri artists interested in doing the work. It was 9 p.m. when members reached consensus and picked the finalists based on their images and statements. The finalists are:


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  • Beth Nybeck of Kansas City
  • Robert Friedman and Marni Jaime of Columbia, who would work on the project together
  • Bede Clarke of Columbia

The applications are now subject to the approval of the Columbia City Council. If the council signs off, each finalist will receive $2,000 to help pay for their design work.

"We're going to let them do their design and hopes it dazzles us," said Chris Stevens, manager of the Office of Cultural Affairs.

This is not the first time applicants for public art commissions in Columbia were required to be Missouri residents, Stevens said. He said the council asked that the applications be restricted this time around.

"I think they thought: 'Hey, we've got a lot of talent here in Missouri so let's try to utilize it,'" Stevens said. 

Submissions from the artists consisted of several images of previous artwork and a one-page written statement about their art. There were no restrictions on the type of medium the artists could use. Painters, sculptors and photographers were among the applicants.

Nybeck, in her statement, described her work as durable and low maintenance, usually in the form of "large scale abstract metal sculptures." She also said her work is approachable, timeless and speaks to diverse audiences.

The duo of Friedman and Jaime said they have 30 years and 20 years of experience in the arts, respectively. They both live in Columbia and want "to give back to the community" through their skill and artistic perspective, their statement read.

Their goal is to create a "rhythmic and dynamic piece that will represent the energy and excitement that is alive in downtown Columbia," according to their statement.

Clarke would like to create a "large-scale ceramic mural, or a series of murals, to be permanently mounted on facade panels."

Clarke also is a resident of Columbia. He said in his statement that he would be "honored to complete this public commission and to make a contribution to the cultural and artistic climate of the city."

The Short Street garage will be built in conjunction with a new hotel at the former site of the Regency Hotel, which has been demolished. It should be finished by the summer of 2013, Ken Koopmans of Columbia Public Works said.

"We are very motivated to be done by football season," Koopmans said.

The artists' designs must be first approved by the Standing Committee on Public Art, then the Office of Cultural Affairs and finally the City Council, Stevens said. 

Then, if approved, the designs will begin to receive public input and discussion. Stevens said public input will happen via meetings, social media and the city website. 

Then the Standing Committee on Public Art, with the input from the public, will choose the best design and sign a contract with the artist. The chosen artist will then receive $58,000 to design, fabricate and install the art, Stevens said.

The total budget for the project is $83,000 which includes lifetime maintenance, administration fees, contingency and travel for the artist; the $58,000 and the $2,000 given to each of the three finalists are included in this total.

The artwork is part of the city's Percent for Art program. The money for it will come from the budget for the garage, which is being financed primarily by bonds.

"One percent of project cost is carved out for public art," Stevens said. 

The three artists’ applications will go in front of council for approval either in late May or early June. The final artist won't be chosen until September or October, Stevens said. 

"We still have a long process to go."

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

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James Terry April 26, 2012 | 10:30 p.m.

"Durable and low-maintenance"--those are certainly the first words that come to mind when I think about great art... Why not just cover the garage in vinyl siding?

Jim Terry

(Report Comment)
Kevin Gamble April 27, 2012 | 3:37 p.m.

Very glad to see that MO artists were prioritized, and great to see two from Columbia in the mix. They look promising. Best of luck to all of them.

@Jim, I get where you're coming from, but it's a practical compromise of all public art. Something that wears out quickly, becomes unsightly, or requires a lot of maintenance would not encourage ongoing public support of the program.

(Report Comment)

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