Spending about $500,000 to build an “artistic and cultural center for the city” at Veterans Park is scheduled for consideration at Thursday’s 7 p.m. council meeting.
“Now, we are at the mercy of the sun and the rain when we have outdoor events. We are planning an outdoor covered area that will be a piece of art and allow us to have a greater variety of public events,” said Councilman Eric Jablin, standing on the paved courtyard designated for the site between City Hall and the Police Department.
Money would come from the city’s Arts in Public Places Fund. Developers of all nonresidential projects valued at more than $1 million must contribute 1 percent of the project cost to install city-approved public art. Money in the fund cannot be used for other city expenditures, such as public safety, sanitation or recreation.
“No taxpayer money will be used for this project,” Jablin said.
Two proposals are being considered. One is by Mark Fuller, a West Palm Beach artist who has done several other art displays in the city. The other is by GH Bruce, based in Tucson, Ariz. Each was paid $3,000 from the art fund to submit their proposals.
The structure would be steel supports holding up a 20-t0-30-foot-high polyethylene shade fabric. Seating under the fabric would be for between 250 to 400 people. The structure, which would be open on the sides, would be built to withstand hurricane-force winds, according to city records.
Among completed projects listed by GH Bruce are 10 stainless steel sculptures in Promenade Park in Boynton Beach; a sculpture called “Where Flying Fishes Play” in Phoenix, Ariz., completed in 2011 and a sculpture called “Circling The Wagons” completed in 2001 in Carefree, Ariz.
Projects listed by Fuller include the butterfly sculpture on the south side of PGA Boulevard at PGA Commons, the sculptures at Legacy Place and the designs of fish and lizards on the sound wall along Interstate 95 in the West Palm Beach area.
The city’s Arts in Public Places board voted 5-1 in January to recommend GH Bruce. The board said the GH Bruce proposal has a “more welcoming design than the design by Mark Fuller.” Board members also said they were concerned about children climbing on the leafy design on the supports, according to city records.
Art in Public Places Board Chairman David Porter declined to comment.
The council is not bound by the board’s recommendation.
“The giant leaves represent Palm Beach Gardens. My design creates a symbolic gardens feel,” Fuller said.
GH Bruce did not return a call or an email for comment.
The council Thursday can select an artist for the job, reject both proposals or send the proposal back for changes.
“We are considering permanently changing the look of our City Hall plaza. We have to be very careful making our decision,” Councilwoman Marcie Tinsley said.