Guest Editorial: Scottsdale’s Public Art Gets The Recognition It Deserves

By Scottsdale Pinetop

Standing 12 feet high in the middle of the beautiful Scottsdale Civic Center Mall is a memorable work of public art: Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture. The LOVE statue is whimsical, bold, somber and subtle all at once, and it’s an essential part of the local public art scene. The statue stands as a testament to Scottsdale’s long-standing reputation to foster public art.

And now, Scottsdale’s public art is getting the national recognition it deserves.

In 1985, Scottsdale expanded its percent-for-art ordinance to include art as part of private development as a result of the decline in funding for capital projects. The percent-for-art policy requires around 1 percent of construction and renovation costs for private projects be allocated to the purchase of artworks in the surrounding community. And Scottsdale has been a leader of sustaining and improving public art ever since.

In a recent article by the New York Times, developers across the country are fighting efforts that would require them to pay for public art in their private projects or contribute to a public art fund. As community leaders are facing low capital funds and smaller budgets, many are looking to follow Scottsdale’s lead and enforce their own percent-for-art laws. Click here to read the full article.

Met with high resistance, builders argue that these new regulations are nothing more than an “art tax” that would only cause an increase in project costs. But Scottsdale would disagree. Scottsdale developers are among the strongest to support the laws and state that public art is an enhancement to their projects.

“Live the art. Love the place.” This is the motto of Scottsdale’s public art and one that they excel at every day. Community leaders and developers are ensuring that Scottsdale’s public art remains a creative, cultural, and economically sustainable for the city.

It’s no surprise that we have been vocal advocates of Scottsdale’s unique art identity. From the preservation of Scottsdale’s Freeway Art to the expansion of Old Town’s art district, we love it all. It’s part of what makes Scottsdale the “best city in America” as Mayor Lane likes to call it. And that’s why we would like to thank the New York Times for recognizing Scottsdale’s renowned public art reputation and talking about it on the national stage.