City of McKinney Beseiged by Public Art: Unsuspecting Dallas Suburb Commissions Master Plan

pic: Dan Eakin/Staff Photo

Dan Eakins of the McKinney Courier-Gazette-Star reports on a new Municipal Arts Commission in the Dallas suburb that has landed numerous public works in various unsuspecting locations: Sculptures recently placed in the city include “The Basics” by local artist Anthony Atkins at the Alex Clark Memorial Disc Golf Park, and “Infinity” at Valliance Bank on the Sam Rayburn Tollway. ‘The Nurturing Dancers,’ a sculpture by Denton artist Jerry Daniel (photo, left) is one of eight hundred works to be installed in the new new Baylor Medical Center at McKinney that opens in July, and “The McKinney Performing Arts Center (MPAC) is rapidly beginning to look like an art museum.”

Eakins’ article lays out the facts: “Until about six months ago, the city did not have a policy or a master plan for public art. The McKinney Arts Commission, at the request of the McKinney City Council, researched public arts programs, spoke with neighboring cities about public art and drafted the McKinney Art Program. The city council approved the program last December.

A Public Art Master Plan has been funded by the McKinney Community Development Corporation to identify high-priority sites for public artwork that could be commissioned over the next few years. The planning process is being guided by a 13-member advisory committee with representatives from MAC, City Planning, Parks and Recreation, Historic Preservation and Facilities Construction, Main Street, and a private developer.

Those serving on the advisory committee include: Aretha Harvey, assistant to the city manager; Ross Altobelli, city senior planner; Jenny Baker, city senior park planner; Patricia Jackson, city facilities construction manager; Guy Giersch, city historic preservation officer; Karen Klaussen of Main Street; Cindy Evans, McKinney resident; Dori Mommers of RTKL (the architects and designers for Baylor Medical Center of McKinney); and Linda Spina, Sherry Tucker David and Matt Bado of the MAC. More members are expected to join.

Via Partnership, a consulting company from St. Louis that has worked extensively developing public art master plans with other communities in North Texas, will develop the plan.”

The article notes that “Neighboring cities got the jump on McKinney when it comes to having statues, sculptures, paintings, water features and other public art. But McKinney is quickly catching up,” perhaps referring to ambitious, developer-driven fiasco that was  the Art Center of North Texas just down the road near Plano, now mothballed by the Frisco City Council, who refused to pay for it!

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