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City approves $75K for glass artwork for library, $5.2 million for parking garage bids

November 20, 2012


When the newly expanded $19 million Lawrence Public Library opens in another year or so, visitors will be greeted by a shimmering display of hanging glass artwork.

City commissioners at their weekly meeting unanimously approved $5.2 million worth of bids to begin construction work on the parking garage for the library, but they actually spent more time getting acquainted with the $75,000 piece of public art planned for the building.

“It is very cool stuff,” Mayor Bob Schumm said as commissioners approved a recommendation from the city’s Cultural Arts Commission to award a contract to the artist team of Dierk Van Keppel and John Shreve.

The duo had submitted six different designs for possible glass-oriented artwork that could be included in the library project. Grace Peterson, the chairwoman of an eight-member selection committee, said the group was recommending the bulk of the $75,000 budget be spent on a piece that will feature sheets of colored glass that will hang in the new two-story atrium area of the library.

“Light will come in through that clear story and really just allow so much color to bounce around the space,” said Peterson, who teaches art at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City.

The duo of Van Keppel and Shreve also had proposed an outdoor glass sculpture made to resemble a fountain for the open plaza area between the library and the new parking garage. But Peterson said that portion of the proposal won’t be done.

The city approved the $75,000 worth of artwork for the library as part of the city’s Percent for Art program, which strives to spend 1 percent of the cost of public buildings on public artwork. The city, however, has the discretion to spent less than 1 percent and chose to limit the budget $75,000 for the $19 million library project.

As for the $5.2 million worth of bids on Tuesday night, commissioners accepted them with little comment. The bid package came in about $200,000 less than budgeted, after architects made a handful of technical adjustments to the parking garage’s specifications. Preliminary work on the garage will begin in mid-December, and the library is expected to move to its temporary space in the former Borders building at Seventh and New Hampshire streets in mid-January.

The city left the issue of whether to add another level to the proposed 250-space parking garage for another night. City staff members are crafting a new proposal for a downtown benefit district that would charge property owners a special assessment to pay for the extra level, which will cost about $835,000. Commissioners likely will be presented with that proposal some time in December.

In other business, commissioners unanimously approved a resolution ordering Patricia Sinclair to clean up the exterior yard conditions at her home at 331 Johnson Ave.

If Sinclair doesn’t clean up the exterior storage in her yard and on her porch, the city can go in and clean up the items and assess the costs against her future property taxes. Sinclair, however, still has the opportunity to appeal the city’s finding in court. Sinclair vigorously opposed the city’s finding on Tuesday night.


Bladerunner 5 years, 7 months ago

It would be nice to have details on the city's issue with Sinclair's yard. Evidently it must not be umbrella's, bowling balls, or bottles hanging from trees. As for the rest of the article....Spend Obama's minions...Spend!
75K for colored glass? A waste of cash......Why don't we forego the artwork till Obama leads us out of these dark ages?

3rd_planet 5 years, 7 months ago

I'm with bladerunner. 75k for some decor sounds like a bit of a waste to me.

irvan moore 5 years, 7 months ago

it would probably be a lot easier to clean up the porch than to go to the meetings and argue with the city about it

skinny 5 years, 7 months ago

Like I said yesterday, The City of Lawrence thinks money grows on trees. I remember back in the day the city would keep a work truck for twenty years. Now they get new ones ever year or two. Crazy!!

Matt Kuhlman 5 years, 7 months ago

You guys realize that the article states the art is funded by a 1% initiative, in which 1% of a projects budget goes toward public artwork, right? And you realize that $75,000 is less than 1% of the $19 million library project budget, right? And you also realize that less than 1% of something is a tiny, tiny sliver of something, right?

Or what do I know? Maybe it's easier to ignore logic and facts, be incredibly cynical and just get pissed no matter what's happening. I'll give that a try sometime and let you know how it goes.

Matt Kuhlman 5 years, 7 months ago

Who else would follow it but the city? Some other entity that allots money for public projects?

And no, it's not a law that they have to follow strictly, which is evident by the fact that they are spending LESS THAN 1% of this project on the art installation, but it is something that the city tries to do in the interest of enriching the city and community, which I think is a worthwhile effort.

If my yearly income was $19 million I would gladly give YOU $75,000 to spend on any public art installation that you would like done, but as I make much less than that the amount is obviously too much for me personally. But it's the percentage that is significant here, not the amount. So instead I will gladly offer to give you 1% of my yearly income to fund a public art project of your choice. So where shall I send my $200?

Matt Kuhlman 5 years, 7 months ago

Oh, I forgot, the amount they are putting in is actually about .4% of the total project budget, so where will my $80 be going to?

Sunny Parker 5 years, 7 months ago

The library project is ONE Million over budget! What a waste of taxpayer money!

I've seen much worse porch's and yards than Ms. Sinclairs....Why isn't she allowed to have the stuff on her porch?

homergoodtimes 5 years, 7 months ago

Boog Highbergers yard and porch when he was mayor was similar to Ms. Sinclairs yard. In Boog's yard people called it art.

cowboy 5 years, 7 months ago

The library , while a waste of money in this age of technology is not terrible looking. The parking garage is an abortion of a building. concrete covered in cattle panels is what it looks like to me. No matter how much "art" you put on it it's still a turd.

Sarah St. John 5 years, 7 months ago

  1. I'm probably the only nut who's bothered by the art for a completely different reason -- I like art, but I get the heebie-jeebies thinking about walking under huge sheets of glass dangling from the ceiling. Shudder.

  2. If Ms. Sinclair wants to clean it up but is unable to for some reason (disability, lack of time, whatever) I'd be happy to go over and help her out this weekend, no charge. I can provide references if she's worried about strangers.

turnright 5 years, 7 months ago

KU grad Dierk Van Keppel does beautiful work. I can't wait to see it!

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

At least we got to vote on it, unlike the new mega sports complex.

I trust you voted, and voted against the library expansion (I did).

bearded_gnome 5 years, 7 months ago

okay so ... dear Lawrence, Headquarters counseling center saves lives. it stops suicide. it helps against drug abuse. it answers a crisis phone and assists people in all kinds of crises.

they are $62,000 short! they've had to cut staff. they've had to cut advertising. thus, some people who could be helped won't know about them in their times of need. I am not against art as such. when I can, I am an artist myself. however, our community's priorities are really screwed up bad!!!! $75,000 ... how many lives would be saved by that? could that money be invested in a way to assist Headquarters to help them in future years to be on a more stable financial base?
instead, we have a giant glass thingy.
"oh look at the shiney thing and don't worry."

bearded_gnome 5 years, 7 months ago

by Kuhlman's logic, since $75,000 is a "small" portion of the overall budget of building the new library, then it's okay to frivol it away.
now that's great logic.
that's how our nation's gotten 16trillion in debt.

bearded_gnome 5 years, 7 months ago

art is important, and it does make the world a better place.

however, if people kill themselves, we're losing something more important than art.

Kuhlman wrote: You guys realize that the article states the art is funded by a 1% initiative, in which 1% of a projects budget goes toward public artwork, right? And you realize that $75,000 is less than 1% of the $19 million library project budget, right? And you also realize that less than 1% of something is a tiny, tiny sliver of something, right?

---just because it's a city initiative doesn't make it any wiser.

roadwarrior 5 years, 6 months ago

library face lift....its the library materials that matter, not what it looks like. Spend the money on social services - give the library employees a raise !! any of those things would be money better spent than cosmetic building materials. I still don't understand the parking garage. I drive to the library ALL the time and never - not one single time - have I not immediately found a parking space. Dumb.

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