Incorporating public art in City Capital Improvement Projects is a critical way of ensuring that the public is able to access works of art across San Diego. Council Policy 900-11 requires that the public art program be funded by 2% of eligible construction projects in excess of $250,000. This policy has resulted in some beautiful and engaging pieces of artwork throughout San Diego. However, in December, a Voice of San Diego article, "The City Might Not Have to Put Public Art in Not-So-Public Places After All," (attached) raised an important question regarding whether public art pieces are required to be built on the site of a City project if that project is funded with restricted funds and is anticipated to not be readily accessible to the public. As taxpayer funded public art is meant to be experienced and viewed by the public, I believe there should be a clear answer as to whether our current policies allow for public art to be built off-site when a facility that triggers the public art policy is, by and large, inaccessible to the public.
I am requesting an opinion from you regarding whether there is a requirement for a public art piece to be located on-site in order to comply with the City Public Art Policy. Additionally, in relation to the Public Utility Department projects mentioned in the article, do any of the bonds or funding sources for either of the two projects include specific restrictions that would limit the City's ability to locate the public art offsite at a more publicly accessible location? If so, would such a restriction apply to future projects funded by bonds or other similar financing vehicles? Would it be possible to issue a bond that allows for a small amount of the funding to be used off-site for the purposes of a public art component and would that be allowable when a CIP is utilizing enterprise funds?
Thank you for your prompt response.