Los Angeles Wants to Cut Red Tape on $7.5 Million in Arts Funding

Alexander Calder, Four Arches (1974), painted steel. Public art installation at Los Angeles's Security Pacific Tower, 333 S. Hope St.

As reported by the Los Angeles Times, city officials are working to free up $7.5 million in city funds earmarked for visual arts.

The money has accumulated since 2007, thanks to a ruling from a former city attorney that requires public art to be installed within one block of the construction project that generated the funding. Developers also have the option to put the public art fees (generally about 1 percent of the total building cost) towards the projects of their choice as approved by the Cultural Affairs Department, but if they don’t specify how the money should be put to use, it is rendered virtually unspendable.

Instead of being able to pool the money to fund larger projects, the city is required to create public art installations outside every little warehouse, office building, or factory. These stringent geographic restrictions have hamstrung the department, but a new audit from city controller Ron Galperin recommends relaxing the one-block rule in order to facilitate the resumption of public art spending.

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