It’s your money, so get involved in the discussion

  • 1 min to read

A sparse crowd at the Peoria Arts Commission special meeting Tuesday was disheartening. But there were bright spots throughout the discussion of art projects in North Peoria.

Those who attended were articulate and in one case, intent on making art more than just an artistic statement. He wanted functionality to play a big part. He spoke to an open-minded audience. He was not dismissed.

This is what public involvement is all about, and more Peoria citizens need to be reminded that no matter how you feel about a topic, the outcome of a discussion really does depend on you. This is democracy at work.

If you missed the meeting, you can make the next one, which takes place 5 p.m. Oct. 11 at Sunrise Mountain Library, 21109 N. 98th Ave. Visit to learn more about art projects under discussion.

There’s a lot of money involved in public art. In the percent for the arts package for the North Peoria Community Park, $270,000 has been budgeted. That means more than one work of art could be part of the total package.

In other art projects in North Peoria, there was a lot of discussion Tuesday about placement of murals designed by high school and college students under the Gallery 37 program administered by West Valley Art Council.

André Licardi, Peoria’s cultural arts coordinator, said the city would like to capture public comments on the art that will be placed along a sound wall between 91st and 95th avenues on Happy Valley Road.

The arts commission made their choice for two locations out of a possible five, based on how easily commuters would see each mural. If you had been in the audience, you could have voiced an opinion. This is not rocket science; it’s an opinion seeker, and all it takes is a seat at the table, or in this case, a place out front in the audience.

It was a pleasant experience - watching the members of the arts commission listening intently to every speaker. It is a rare circumstance these days to watch board and commission members pay such close attention to the public.

Just because it is not in your particular neighborhood does not mean it will not impact your life. Even the resident who lives in the farthest point south in the City of Peoria should be proud of whatever is taking place in the borders of this city. It shows ownership of the whole, not just the part on your street.

Give yourself an uplifting experience Oct. 11 at the next special arts commission meeting. Look at the whole picture and you just might want to visit that new park someday and say, “I helped shape this jewel.”