In a press conference on the lawn of McGuffey Art Center, Democratic City Council candidate Paul Beyer proposed a Cultural Affairs position at City Hall, or increased funding for a local nonprofit tapped to coordinate arts in the city. Part of Beyer‘s campaign platform is strengthening the city’s support for the arts, which he sees as an economic engine that will bring jobs to Charlottesville.
Surrounded by supporters including former City Councilors Meredith Richards and Blake Caravati and former candidate Peter McIntosh, Beyer said he also wants to revive the Percent for Art policy that the city has not budgeted since Fiscal Year 2004-2005. The policy called for one percent of the City’s cost for capital improvement projects to "be set aside to commission or purchase art work for the project site."
According to city documents, the Percent for Art account held a balance of $100,542 as of March—a total that dropped to $94,542 after the city purchased "Azure," a sculpture that won the 2009-2010 ArtInPlace competition.
“Invest money to make money,” he told reporters. He added that it is necessary to stop looking at art in a “fuzzy way,” but rather as “the economic driver of the region.”
Recently, C-VILLE’s Feedback asked all the candidates for City Council whether the city should fund arts initiatives. Click here to read what they had to say.
Beyer’s public statement comes four days before the Democratic firehouse primary where three candidates will win their party’s nomination. In November, the nominees will square off against five independents: Andrew Williams, Scott Bandy, Brandon Collins, Paul Long and Bob Fenwick.
Paul Beyer’s supporters at McGuffey Art Center. Chiara Canzi photo.