The Jefferson City Cultural Arts Commission hopes to decorate the city with sculptures in the coming years, starting with one this year.
Manchester-based Creative Cities Alliance offers a sculpture program in which cities throughout Missouri can rent and purchase sculptures made by local artists.
The Cultural Arts Commission joined the program this year, making Jefferson City the farthest city in the state to participate, commissioner Leann Porrello said. There are currently 10 cities participating in the program.
Porrello said having sculptures allows residents to enjoy them without traveling to art galleries and adds to the feel of the community.
"We're just interested in brightening Jefferson City with murals and sculptures, so we just thought this would be a great starting-off point to slowly introduce the community to some sculptures," said Porrello, who is executive director of Capital Arts and cultural arts specialist for Jefferson City.
The Creative Cities Alliance sends photos of more than 50 potential sculptures for cities to pick from. Cities then create a top-10 list, which the organization picks from.
From there, cities work with artists to rent sculptures for two years for $500 per year. This $500 covers the sculpture, materials and upkeep; but the city must help with the installation.
The Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department is covering the cost, Porrello said, adding $1,000 total for two years is a reasonable price as these sculptures might be valued at up to $30,000.
"When you rent a sculpture, you can either change it out every two years so that you have rotating art, which is kind of fun because we can say we're going to do new stuff every two years," Porrello said. "However, if the community is really passionate about the sculpture that we get and they really love it and it really enhances our community, we have the option to work with the artist and buy it and make it a permanent part of our city."
The Cultural Arts Commission will learn Monday which sculpture it will receive. After that, it will select a location.
"We didn't have a location picked because all of the sculptures we picked were all so different — some are brass, some are interactive, some are musical — so we really want to see what sculpture we get first," Porrello said. "Once we get that sculpture, the location is the next thing because we want to match the location with the sculpture and what it's for. It's also all about sharing it with the community and public, so we want it to be noticeable. We don't want it to be hidden in the middle of a park in the middle of the woods where it's not easily accessible."
After this year, if Jefferson City residents like the yearly program, the commission can expand it by picking several sculptures.
Porrello said the commission hopes to receive public input when selecting future sculptures.
Amy Schroeder, community relations manager for the Parks Department, suggested making the sculptures part of the Parks Department's memorial program. Similar to memorial trees and benches, residents could donate to purchase the sculpture to be placed in a park in honor of someone.