Tuesday, June 19, 2012 | 1:45 p.m.
A proposal to create a county public arts fund appeared to gain the support of Clark County commissioners, a surprise to artists and those who support community arts.
After hearing public testimony Tuesday, Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani agreed to re-examine her proposal to create a fund whose maximum would never exceed $1.25 million.
Among ideas she will consider putting into the ordinance is one by colleague Steve Sisolak, who asked to look into adding a small percent for art to each county-funded capital project. Then, he said, if someone is doing work for Dog Fancier’s Park for something like paving the parking lot, a small percent would go to some public art to be erected at that park.
Weeks ago, commissioners appeared doubtful of supporting the idea, fearing it would take money away from other needed programs.
“Where the funding comes from, I didn’t want to argue about,” Giunchigliani said.
The proposal says funding would be generated from revenue the county receives in both room taxes and capital projects taxes. Those taxes go into the county’s general fund, which creates the pool of money most county agencies vie for each year.
The funding question resonated with commissioners.
“I’m interested in supporting this; I’m just really concerned about where we get the money from,” said Commissioner Lawrence Weekly.
“We have to proceed very carefully on how we would fund this,” added Commissioner Mary Beth Scow. She added she wanted the plan “carefully controlled” so that art created under the program would be appropriate for children.
Sisolak contributed the idea to adding a small percent to capital improvement projects that would then “be spent with local artists.”
“That might be a more appropriate way … and we’d raise more money,” he said.
Even Commissioner Tom Collins, who made light of some of the art that exhibits that go up every two months in the county building rotunda -- “We don’t pay them to put that there, do we?” he asked -- appeared to support the idea.
After being told that each of those rotunda artists get $500 from the county, for a total expense of $3,000 annually, Collins offered that the program should be handled by the county’s Parks and Recreation Department.
After the meeting, artist Diane Bush, who is a Clark County cultural/recreational supervisor, was optimistic but aware that “it’s very fluid right now” and anything could happen before the redrafted ordinance is heard in two weeks.
“The biggest surprise for me was Tom Collins,” Bushsaid. “His support is a huge plus.”