COMMUNITIES USE PUBLIC ART TO ATTRACT AND RETAIN RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: June 23, 2005
CONTACT: Scott Slemmons, scott.slemmons@ttu.edu

LUBBOCK – Communities and universities wishing to enhance their ability to attract and retain residents and businesses are increasingly turning to percent-for-art funding programs that allow them to buy and install public art. The programs give communities the option to create environments that people want to live and work in, providing an important boost to economic development at the local level.

At Texas Tech University, public art manager Cecilia Carter Browne said percent-for-art programs require a small portion of the total cost of all capital programs or construction to be spent on public art. Such programs can provide important benefits for community residents, businesses and employees.

"Learning and working in an interesting, aesthetically pleasing environment has a powerful impact on our quality of life," Browne said. "Ultimately, this satisfaction aids in recruiting and retaining high quality faculty, staff and students. Of course, there are ripple effects from these factors that impact the long-term economic health and reputation of a community or university. It's important to create an environment that people want to live and work in, and you do that by creating communities and workplaces that are more interesting and aesthetically pleasing."

Texas Tech University started its percent-for-art program almost five years ago. The university allocates 1 percent of the estimated total cost of each new construction project and each repair and rehabilitation project that exceeds $500,000 for the acquisition of public art, along with an additional 1 percent for landscape enhancements. Texas Tech – one of only two Texas universities with a public art program – now displays artwork by some of the best-known artists in the nation.

Browne said she considers Texas Tech's public art collection to be among the strongest at a university in the country.

"We have sculptures by Jesus Moroles, Tom Otterness, Peter Woytuk, Larry Kirkland, Terry Allen and so many more," said Browne. "We have works of art on the way by Deborah Butterfield, Farley Tobin and Shan Shan Sheng, too. Our collection grows larger and more interesting every year, and we're attracting some of today's leading artists."

Browne said Texas Tech seeks to enrich the cultural and intellectual life of its campuses by building and maintaining a unique collection of public art.

"The arts play a vital role in expanding our capacity to think critically, creatively and broadly," said Browne. "Experiencing the world from a different vantage point is particularly appropriate within a university, because the paradigm shift one experiences in a learning environment is often a portal for discovery and personal growth."

-30-

CONTACT: Cecilia Carter Browne, public art manager, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-1170, extension 319, or e-mail cecilia.carter@ttu.edu.