Path cleared for mural art in Keizer

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By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

When it comes to city government, “easy” can be a foreign word.

On Monday, Keizer City Councilors unanimously agreed to establish a Keizer Arts Commission as well as a Public Art program, which covers guidelines and rules for both public murals and art to be put on display at the Keizer Community Center.

The process began last summer when Mayor Lore Christopher worked with the Keizer Arts Association to get a mural up on the west wall of Keizer Florist, located at 631 Chemawa Road NE.

KAA members established a timeline for the project, with plans for the mural to be done this August. An artist was selected last year. A tea party fundraiser for the mural is taking place this Saturday, May 10 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the KAA classroom in the Keizer Heritage Center at 980 Chemawa Road NE. Tickets are $15 each, with mural artist Colleen Goodwin Chronister the guest speaker.

Back in December, city attorney Shannon Johnson recalled an earlier conversation about the mural issue.

“The mayor asked me, ‘It would be no problem, right?’ Actually, it is,” Johnson said at the time.

After several months of work, the problem has finally been resolved. Johnson said the new Keizer Arts Commission would look at public art and mural requests. The commission would have the authority to make requests comply with city rules.

As proposed, art on display at city hall would be covered up to $25,000, with the city having a $1,000 deductible per occurrence and a premium of about $300 a year. Placement of art at city hall would be a five-step process, starting with the artist submitting a letter of request and ending with arrangements being made for the return of the artwork.

Placement of a mural in the city would also be a five-step process, also starting with a letter of request being submitted by the owner or tenant of the building where the mural would be displayed. Once an art easement is obtained from the property owner, the commission would manage the creation of the mural to ensure it complies with the approval.

Johnson noted the trust being instilled in the KAC.

“You don’t have to be art critics,” he said. “But we’re putting a lot of faith in the commission.”

Johnson said art could be on display up to 60 days, a limit Christopher sought flexibility for.

“Can we put in 60 to 90 days?” the mayor asked. “We’re starting to get attention. With 90 days, it’s four times a year. As we get more demand in the future, we may want to limit displays to 60 days, but 90 days for now.”

Johnson noted the commission would get going quicker if councilors appoint the initial six members.

“I’m appointing me to this committee,” Christopher said. “Between the six of you, I need (five) additional names.”

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