ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Two Albuquerque city councilors are sponsoring a bill that looks at increasing funds to help preserve public art throughout the city. It would add to the city law that requires every bond issue to have one percent for the arts.

One example of public art you can find in the city – is called “A Stop on the Rio Grande” located at 100 first St. SW. There are more than 1400 works of public art – some of which require complicated and ongoing maintenance

Sherri Brueggemann is the city’s Public Art Urban Enhancement Division Manager. She explains, “We have continued to acquire a lot more works of art, and the cost of maintaining the public art outdoors, especially those outdoors, has gone up. And so we’re looking at the need for having more funds to take care of them.”

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About 850 of the public art pieces are outdoor. The bill would make an amendment to an already existing ordinance that sets aside 1% of city construction funds from the voter-approved general obligation bond program – for the purchase or commission of works of art. 

As stated in the bill – there is not enough money to keep up with the cost of conserving artwork. Increasing the formula to one and one-half percent will get the city more money for existing and future outdoor sculptures and murals – like the tricentennial towers on i-40 or the Montano bridge where we have the longest mural in our city. 

The bill would also update the definition of public art to include digital media temporary works of art. Brueggemann continues, “Other public art programs have invested in ways of being able to do temporary and digital media. So you know, video art that can be streamed on monitors, or even on, say, large outdoor projection screens, you know, different ways that we could actually put them, you know, project images on buildings.” Digital interactive temporary art would not require long-term maintenance and help reduce the money needed for upkeep. 

Brueggemann says there are many exciting projects in the works right now – including artwork for the brand new International District library which will be announced soon. 

The bill was introduced to the city council on Monday. It will now be referred to committee and come back to the full city council in early September.