The City of Moscow and the Moscow Arts Commission’s Call for Public Artists will have people looking at the ground.
The city is looking for manhole and tree grate cover designs.
Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Gina Taruscio said there is now an expanded definition of arts.
“Art’s not just the traditional painting, sculpture. Nowadays it includes tree grates and manhole covers. As a whole, all of these cool pieces make our community just that much better. It’s a part of the big picture of arts in Moscow,” Taruscio said.
The 2013 Public Art Call for Artistic Manhole Covers states the Public Works Department desires to implement an artistic manhole cover initiative that will add a public art component to the sanitary and storm sewer systems in keeping with the City of Moscow’s promotion of public art.
“Anything that the city can do, including manhole covers, to make our environment more beautiful and interesting will not only make our community more enriched — it will also bring in more tourists,” Taruscio said.
City of Moscow Art Director Kathleen Burns said art can be ornamental and purposeful at the same time.
City Ordinance No. 2004-30, written by City Attorney Randy Fife, dedicates 1 percent of the total cost of all funded capital improvement projects, when appropriate, to facilitate the inclusion of art in public places.
Burns said the Moscow Arts Commission looked at the ordinance as an opportunity to generate art in public space and the 1 percent dedication is enough for now.
“Part of the arts department’s mission statement is to provide innovative, cooperative and accessible programs,” Taruscio said. “I think this hits innovative right on the button. When you call for manhole covers, some people prefer to work in metal as a medium.”
Burns said the public arts projects create engagement and add richness to a community.
Winning artistic manhole cover designs will be used throughout the city with new construction and replacements of existing covers.
The selected artists will be paid $100 for each chosen design.
Specifications for entry are on the Moscow City website. The deadline for submissions is 5 p.m. March 18.
Caroline Lincoln can be reached at email@example.com