Ann Arbor City Officials Disappointed by Rejection of Public Art Millage

A property tax millage to fund a more comprehensive public art program has been rejected by voters in Ann Arbor, Michigan, disappointing city officials there, the Michigan Daily reports.

At a cost of about $11 a month to the average homeowner, the tax would have generated approximately $450,000 annually to provide direct funding for public art projects in the community. The millage had been proposed as an alternative to the current funding mechanism for public art, a program called Percent for Art that receives funds from different city departments and is restricted to permanent art installations on specified government properties. The millage would have included funding for temporary art projects. Although there are proposals to modify the Percent for Art program, none calls for including temporary art.

Public art administrator Aaron Seagraves noted that unfamiliarity with the new model of funding as well as a lack of awareness about the proposal, which was added to the ballot two months before election day, could have contributed to the measure's defeat.

Mark Tucker, art director of the University of Michigan's Lloyd Hall Scholars Program and founder of FestiFools, an annual parade of papier-mâché puppets created by students and members of the community that would have benefited from the millage, said he was disappointed but not surprised by its defeat. "I'm not completely surprised because it would be unusual for a community to come out in strong favor of wanting its tax dollars to go towards public art," said Tucker. "But I think it probably has to do with education in terms of how much the public art millage committee had time to get out the information."

Taylor Wizner. "Ann Arbor Officials Dismayed by Rejection of Art Millage." Michigan Daily 11/11/2012.