Clarkston plugs public art as part of beautification efforts

Clarkston city councilwoman Dianne Leonetti said many residents want to see more public art in the city—a little beauty to look at as they go about their day.

“It can’t do anything but benefit us,” Leonetti said. “Public art is a great thing and there are so many artists in Clarkston.”

Leonetti is a member of the new Clarkston Public Art Committee.

In the past three years Clarkston has undergone beautification efforts such as redeveloping its public pool and improving sidewalks and streetscapes. Leonetti said the public art committee is part of the beautification process.

“It’s just part of that whole process of the redevelopment of Clarkston,” Leonetti said. “With anything like that you need to have some parameters around it.”

Since its inception, the public art committee has met twice and is in the process of developing an application process to allow artists an avenue to submit their ideas to the city. Additionally, Leonetti said, the members are looking at the resources available through grants and is soliciting volunteers.

“We’re going to work on the public art policy and application process, and we’re going to try and keep it as simple as possible,” Leonetti said.

Leonetti said last year she and other city officials saw the need for a comprehensive public art policy after the creation of the city’s first mural, located at the corner of North Indian Creek Road and East Ponce De Leon Avenue.

“We came to the realization that we needed to organize the process to make sure that all of the concerns were taken care of such as zoning and code issues,” Leonetti said.

Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry said developing a comprehensive public art policy was one of his initiatives when running for mayor. Terry said that areas with a public art policy in place often see a drop in crime rates and more economic development.

“When you put a new coat of paint on a [blighted area] or better yet, you actually do a mural, all of a sudden this old building has something that adds a little character to it, and it actually looks nice—it’s not an eyesore,” Terry said.

Terry said when residents and city officials got together to paint the first mural in Clarkston, more than 60 people came out to help. He said part of the public art initiative is also building community.

“When I was inaugurated, one of the first resident committees that I formed was the public arts one,” Terry said. “What we’re really trying to focus on with this public art thing is how we can engage the kids and residents to be a part of it.”

During the next several weeks, Leonetti said the committee will be finalizing its policies and artist application form.

Any resident interested in joining the committee can email for more information.



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