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Victorian Square Temporary Art Program

The Victorian Square Temporary Art Program is a curated collection that will showcase regularly rotating installed art throughout downtown Sparks, Nevada. This program is designed to enhance the local environment and promote the understanding and enjoyment of public art by inviting artists to temporarily exhibit select works in selected areas. Collections will rotate every two years.

Goals:

  • Create attractive public environments by integrating outdoor art into public spaces;
  • Showcase public art that celebrates Sparks’ historical and aesthetic values;
  • Invest in Sparks’ cultural environment;
  • Enhance the character of Sparks through visibility of community-valued artworks;
  • Promote public participation and interaction with artists and artwork; and
  • Stimulate the downtown economy through increased pedestrian activity and organized art walks, events and educational opportunities.

Background

In 2015, the City of Sparks began one of the largest redevelopment project in its history in downtown.  Planned for completion by 2022, a six-square-block area of downtown Sparks called Victorian Square will be transformed into housing (apartments and condos) for 3,500 new residents, with new restaurants and retail spaces, an event venue, a central plaza and gathering spaces.

The city has allocated funding for a new streetscape plan includes new public sidewalks, planters, curbs, and landscaping. A portion of the streetscape plan allocated a portion of budget for art.

This program is contained in the downtown creative placemaking plan, Together We See Sparks Creative Placemaking Plan for Victorian Square, approved by City Council in May 2020. This plan is part of the renewed embrace of using art to complement the downtown region as a gathering place for the citizens and visitors.

Execution

The city will utilize the Arts and Culture Advisory committee to execute this program through their regular meetings, so that the public can give input.

Initial items to set up are the marketing materials to begin to promote the call to artists, the art installation and the monthly art walks. Staff will work with an advertising agency to create these materials.

Five locations for sculptures and one mural location selected by key staff based on the program’s objectives.

Artists will be paid a $2,500 stipend for transportation and cost to participate. The artist will also remit a 10% commission for any artwork that is sold during its time of display. Those funds will be re-invested into the program.Call to artists will begin in July 2020 to be chosen in January 2021 and installed by May 2021, to be celebrated at the 3rd Thursday event, May 20, 2021.

Community Partners and Events

The City will work the 39 North Downtown, Sierra Arts Foundation and Sparks Heritage Museum to create monthly artwalks as part of the 3rd Thursday events downtown. Participants will be given a printed map or directed to an online map and encouraged to view all the downtown pieces. Along with the outdoor structures and mural, any business that is participating in the Galleries at Work* program with Sierra Arts will be included on the map. (See note, right.) 39 North Downtown will coordinate the businesses who choose to participate by hosting exhibiting visual artists or performing artists (music, poetry theatre, etc.) during the event. This will also increase foot traffic into their businesses.

Sparks Heritage Museum will open museum, train display and Glendale schoolhouse for later hours and free to the public. Volunteer docents will encourage tours.

Sierra Arts will employ educators to develop an educational curriculum for schoolteachers to use the collection as a subject on the art and its theme. Educational tours and online toolbox will be made available to schools for free.

Marketing/Technology

Key to the success of this program is the assurance of attendance of the monthly walks and availability of maps online for visitors. The city will employ an advertising/marketing agency to assist in the development of materials. While 39 North Downtown will shoulder the cost of year-round marketing of the 3rd Thursday Events from their funding from the Tourism and Marketing Committee, the city will provide the branded materials (website, app, maps, posters, etc.) to be used during the event.  A clean cohesive logo and branded materials will elevate the image of the program and enhance the perception of the city’s burgeoning arts programs.

This program will utilize a state-of-the-art technology within the website to enhance the user experience with the artwork outside the organized tours and education programs. The website will be built to house information for the kick off. Enhancements will make it even easier for visitors to find the tour being guided by “digital docents,” incorporating audio tracks, photographs and push notifications via mobile application. Other helpful items include notifications of new displays, access to parking, road construction and other information to help visitors enjoy their experience.

Call to Artists/Selection Process

For the temporary sculptures, a “call to artist” will be distributed to artists via the Americans for the Arts Portal, along with Sierra Arts, Artown, UNR and Reno Arts Consortium, to invite artists to submit up to three pieces for consideration. The search for sculptures will be conducted using Westaf’s Café program which distributes the call to artist/members, collects the entries and portfolios, and allow the selection committee and public to view the entries online prior to meetings. Entries will be limited to Nevada and adjoining states for ease of transport. The entry way mural will be selected from artists in the Reno-Tahoe region (within 150 miles) and the Request for Proposals will be conducted via the city of Sparks web page.

The selection process will center on the artist’s work to demonstrate a connection to the theme, artistic merit and artwork maintainability.  All decisions will be made during ACAC meeting laws and open meeting laws apply. Public comment will be open for each stage of decision.

Selection committee will be made up of ACAC members, a resident and a business owner downtown in Victorian Square, and one visual arts professional.

Public input will be available at the meetings. We will also utilize the kiosks in the downtown to show the submissions and encourage people to engage in the selection process and design.

Sculptures:
Call to Artists Document
Call to Artists Link to Submission.

Mural:
Call to Artists Document
Call to Artists Link to Submission.

*Galleries at Work
Sierra Arts Foundation works with local business owner to provide local and regional art in their businesses. This program creates a partnership between artist and business by installing artwork in locations custom to space available.  Exhibitions curated by SAF can currently be found in Engine 8 Winery and the program is available to any downtown business with funding from the ACAC.