Council Tables Public Art Decision

March 17, 2021
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Naperville City Council tabled a decision that would put them on the path to make funding Naperville Century Walk‘s public art initiatives a city obligation.

Public Art Task Force

Last year, the SECA Commission began taking steps to create a separate Public Art Task Force. But before $25,000 was spent on hiring a consultant to get the group started, council changed direction and asked city staff to begin meeting with Century Walk to create a working relationship.

The city is now considering a partnership with the nonprofit as a way forward for public art.

“I think that 25 years has demonstrated that they are a trusted partner and somebody who can carry the flag on arts here in this community,” said Mayor Steve Chirico. “So I’m fine with the city obligation.”

Funding Request

Century Walk usually, but not always, receives a recommendation through SECA for funding. The city could make them a funding obligation similar to Naper Settlement, Naperville Municipal Band, and NCTV17.

Century Walk’s “Long-Range Plan for Public Art” recommends a $200,000 annual allocation to maintain and fund public art.

“In our city obligations, no one gets that much money to date,” said Councilwoman Theresa Sullivan. “And it’s more money than anyone gets in the regular SECA funding. Again, I think there’s some questions about amounts here and what is the right amount for public art.”

Concerns On the Dais

Council was more or less in agreement that a partnership with Century Walk could be a good idea, but there were concerns about moving too quickly, making sure the city was represented at meetings, and how much funding to provide.

“Getting everyone at the table to have a little input on that, hearing what SECA has to say, if it works out right, I would support having some type of commitment to them like we have with some of our other agencies,” said Councilman Benny White. “I don’t think we’re there now.”

Council voted 6-3 in favor of tabling the decision on whether staff will begin to work with Century Walk on their proposal.

Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.


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