City of Reno

Staff Report

Staff Report (For Possible Action): Presentation, discussion and potential approval of agreement for purchase of sculpture titled "Reciprocity" by artist Hunter Brown intended to be installed in the Virginia Street Bus RAPID Transit Project (also known as the Midtown Public Art Project), in the amount of $60,000. (Room Tax and National Endowment for the Arts Art Works Grant Funds)


Department:City Manager - Special EventsSponsors:

Recommendation and Proposed Motion

Recommendation:  Staff recommends approval of agreement for purchase of sculpture titled "Reciprocity" by artist Hunter Brown intended to be installed in the Virginia Street Bus RAPID Transit Project (also known as the Midtown Public Art Project), in the amount of $60,000 (Room Tax and National Endowment for the Arts Art Works Grant Funds), and authorize the Mayor to sign the purchase agreement.


Proposed Motion:  I move to approve staff recommendation.

Staff Report Formal Body

Summary:   On August 13, 2019, the Reno Arts and Culture Commission (RACC) approved the recommendation from the Public Art Committee to commission artist Hunter Brown for the Midtown Public Art Project. His sculpture, Reciprocity, scored the highest of the top three projects presented from the Midtown Public Art Call for Artist Proposals.  Staff recommends approval of the agreement with artist Hunter Brown to purchase Reciprocity for $60,000.


Previous Council Action: Council adopted Title 22 Public Art of the Reno Municipal Code (RMC) on February, 9, 2005.  The Art in Public Places Chapter 22.02 of the RMC requires that the City allocate two percent of the total amount budgeted for capital improvements for each eligible construction project to be set aside and identified as sources of funds appropriated and expended for acquisition of works of art


Council and the Reno Arts and Culture Commission had a joint meeting on November 11, 2009 to create a Public Art Process for public art projects.  The adopted 2009 Public Art Process Modifications with Scale and Scope Recommendations attached to this staff report as Exhibit A. 


At the November 28, 2018 Council meeting, Council unanimously approved acceptance of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for an Art Works Grant for public outreach, call for artists, and public art purchase and installation commemorating the City of Reno’s Midtown District vibrancy and street reorientation in the amount of $30,000.


Background:  The City of Reno was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Art Works Grant in the amount of $30,000 for a large-scale public art project in the Midtown District of Reno. The RACC allocated $30,000 of Room Tax funds to go towards the public art project for Midtown as matching funds creating a total budget for the Midtown public art project of $60,000.


The RACC approved the Midtown Public Art Call for Artists on February 12, 2019, and the call attached to this staff report as Exhibit B.  The call was posted on the City’s website, distributed through the City’s artist registry emails and was posted on various call for artist websites.  Submissions were accepted through CODAWorx and the call went out via their newsletter and eblast as well.


Staff did outreach to the Midtown District and the Ward 1 and Ward 3 Neighborhood Advisory Boards (NABs) to present the project. Each group selected members from their body to serve on the artist review panel with the Public Art Committee. The following were nominated to sit on the artist review panel: John Hardwick from Ward 1, Rudy Leon from Ward 3, Kasey Christensen and Melanie Crane from the Midtown District.


Staff attended the weekly RTC Stakeholder meetings held in Midtown to present updates to residents, business owners, and the general public on the Midtown public art process. This group also formed the Midtown Design Review Committee (DRC) that gave input on this project and helped decide how to spend other city funds designated for the district. The Midtown DRC is an informal group of interested public members and anyone was welcome to attend and give input.


The public art review panel met on April 15, 2019 to review the 78 artist qualification submissions. The panel consisted of two Midtown District representatives, one member of the Ward 1 NAB, one member of the Ward 3 NAB, and 10 members from the Public Art Committee which consists of six artists and four community members (four of which are Arts and Culture Commissioners). The panel scored the 78 artist submissions and narrowed it down to 10 qualified artists reviewed by the public art review panel on April 19, 2019.  The public art review panel then narrowed the 10 artist submissions to three finalists


The three finalists visited Reno on June 12 for a tour of Midtown and a site visit to the area. On June 13, the three finalists presented at the RTC Stakeholder/Midtown Design Review Committee meeting. Each artist presented past work and had a chance to ask questions of the community so they could get ideas for their final proposals. The finalist artists were given until July 8 to submit a final proposal for public art for the Midtown district. On July 11, the finalists presented their proposals to the public at a meeting via videoconference. The Midtown Review Committee was invited via City newsletter, RTC newsletter, and email. The Public Art Committee and Arts and Culture Commission were also invited to attend. Attendees of this meeting were able to ask questions and give input via written feedback. The proposals were made available online as well for input via email to the Public Art Program Coordinator.


On July 15, the Public Art Committee and review panel met to choose the final proposal to recommend to the Arts and Culture Commission for the Midtown Public Art Project. The review panel scored Hunter Brown’s proposal for the sculpture Reciprocity the highest. Written comments and feedback were presented to the review panel and showed preference for Hunter Brown’s work as well.


The RACC met on August 13, 2019 and were also presented with the three recommended artist submissions from the public art review panel. The RACC approved the Public Art Committee and review panel’s recommendation of Hunter Brown’s Reciprocity. Hunter Brown’s design proposal is attached to this staff report as Exhibit C.


Discussion:  The Midtown Public Art Call for artists followed the required Public Art Process adopted by Council in 2009 by including members of the Ward 1 NAB; members of the Ward 3 NAB; members of the Midtown District; community members living in Midtown; the Public Art Committee; members of the public; and Public Works Engineering StaffThe public art review panel and RACC took all of the suggestions by the community members and voting members from Midtown District, Ward 1, and Ward 3 very seriously – such as choosing a submission that would represent Midtown, would be iconic, would fit in with the aesthetics of the neighborhood and one that is durable and will withstand an urban setting.  The City posted the artist submissions online during the review process so that members of the panel, RACC and community could review the submissions and make comment.    


The City has already had preliminary meetings with the artist to discuss logistics of installing the piece.  The City would like to install the piece in the roundabout at Mary and Center Street on S. Virginia, attached to this staff report as Exhibit D. City of Reno Public Works Engineers have approved the artwork for this location. It complies with all sightline and safety requirements. RTC will provide the engineering drawings and footing construction as a part of the street construction for this project.


Financial Implications:  The $60,000 for this purchase will come from $30,000 in Room Tax allocations in the Public Art Budget for FY 19/20 and $30,000 of funds from the NEA Art Works Grant awarded to the City of RenoReciprocity provides a tourism amenity; it is in compliance with the use of Room Tax Funds. 


Legal Implications:  Legal staff has reviewed the agreement, and has approved the agreement as to form. 





Meeting History

Sep 11, 2019 10:00 AM Video Reno City Council & Redevelopment Agency Board Joint Regular


Alexis Hill, Arts, Culture and Events Manager, gave a presentation to council.

The council upheld the staff recommendation.

AYES:Bonnie Weber, Devon Reese, Hillary Schieve, Naomi Duerr, Neoma Jardon
ABSENT:Jenny Brekhus, Oscar Delgado