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Saturday, October 19, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane Valley’s City Council and Arts Council agree to work closely on future artwork donations

Local sculptor Richard Warrington created  “Heart of the Valley,” which was donated to Spokane Valley. However, the city opted to temporarily store the 12-foot high sculpture  at its road maintenance facility until Balfour Park is developed across from City Hall. Warrington is concerned it could be damaged by chemicals. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Local sculptor Richard Warrington created “Heart of the Valley,” which was donated to Spokane Valley. However, the city opted to temporarily store the 12-foot high sculpture at its road maintenance facility until Balfour Park is developed across from City Hall. Warrington is concerned it could be damaged by chemicals. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Spokane Valley City Council and the Spokane Valley Arts Council crafted an agreement that coordinates acceptance and delivery of future art donations to the city.

The City Council at a March 5 meeting discussed the agreement, which indicates if both parties interact earlier in the year, it will streamline the process for artwork donation acceptance and provides the city with advance notice about a sculpture’s size as well as installation costs.

The arts council would be required to provide the city with at least a year’s notice before donating a sculpture. The nonprofit organization, which is separate from the city, claims it could make “more concrete plans” to negotiate with artists and prepare for its fundraising program if they know the City Council’s opinion on sculptures earlier in the year.

The arts council has donated seven sculptures to Spokane Valley since 2009. Three of those sculptures “Berry Picker,” “Coup Ponies,” and “Woman With Horse,” were placed outside City Hall. Two sculptures, “Dance of Sun and Moon and “Working the Line,” were installed near CenterPlace Regional Event Center.

A sixth sculpture, “Heart of the Valley,” was commissioned by the arts council and gifted to the city last year. However, when the city opted to place the 12-foot high sculpture into storage at its road maintenance facility until Balfour Park is developed across from City Hall, it created a stir with the sculpture’s artist, Richard Warrington, who is concerned it would be damaged by chemicals.

The city accepted a seventh sculpture, “If I Could But Fly,” by Bob Wilfong at a council meeting last December. At that meeting, James Harken, art director of the arts council, brought forth concerns with coordinating delivery of sculptures to the city.

Under the written agreement between the arts council and the city, CenterPlace Regional Event Center would be available for use once per year as a fundraising venue for the nonprofit’s art auction, the city is required to take possession of the artwork following acceptance by City Council and the arts council must make efforts to obtain sculpture funding through other sources besides the city.

The city has contributed “substantial” funds to pay for the sculptures in the past, including installation and ongoing maintenance as well as through its outside agency funding process.

Every year, the city sets aside funds in its budget for nonprofits that promote economic development or social services. Organizations request funding through an application process that includes a presentation and description of how funding will be used in the next year. Last year, the city allocated $200,000 in its budget to fund nonprofit organizations.

The arts council would still have to compete against other applicants for the city’s outside agency funding in the fall and wouldn’t have a competitive advantage over them as funding isn’t guaranteed, according to the city.

The city is expected to vote on the agreement with the arts council at a March 12 council meeting.

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