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About Public Art

Inspiring a Positive Sense of Place

Overview

Toledo, Ohio has an impressive collection of public art, with large-scale sculptures, murals, and functional structures by noted artists from across the country. Many of these pieces were acquired through the pioneering 1977 ordinance that set aside one percent of Toledo's Capital Improvement Budget for the purchase, conservation, and public education of art.

The program is administered by The Arts Commission through its Art in Public Places Program, which acquires, conserves and restores the collection. This administration also includes the education of the community related to the understanding and enjoyment of public art.

Toledo was the first city in Ohio to adopt a One Percent for Art program. The 1977 ordinance served as a model for Ohio's Percent for Art program, administered by the Ohio Arts Council, which began in 1990.

History

Founded in 1959 as the City Culture Commission, The Arts Commission compiled the city’s first comprehensive local arts calendar beginning in 1960. By the end of the decade, the organization was brought under the City’s Division of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry to aid in public art investments at Crosby Gardens (now Toledo Botanical Gardens).

In 1977 significant legislation passed that cemented The Arts Commission’s role in the community with the founding of the City of Toledo’s One Percent for Art program. Overseen by The Arts Commission’s Art in Public Places Committee, the program allocates a portion of City funds for public art. Toledo’s One Percent for Art program was the first in Ohio, among the first in the nation, and has since served as the adopted model for other regional agencies. It continues to this day and features an impressive collection of public art with work from more than 40 local, national, and international artists installed in nearly every neighborhood in the city.

Toledo has an impressive collection of public art, with large-scale sculptures, murals, and functional structures by noted artists from across the country.

Conservation & Maintenance

The City of Toledo has charged The Arts Commission with the oversight of its One Percent for Art collection. The Arts Commission through its Art in Public Places (APP) Program maintains and conserves this group of more than 80 original public art works. The APP program utilizes highly skilled maintenance technicians and qualified fine art conservators to complete projects that range from routine washing and waxing to major conservation overhauls. The Arts Commission is proud to serve the City of Toledo in this way and works diligently to ensure the collection remains in the best possible condition.

Current Projects

The ABC's of Public Art Book & Field Guide

As part of continued education efforts The Arts Commission’s Art in Public Places program two new books have been published and are now available for public request and pick up. Both books are available for free to the public as both printed and digital versions. The Art in Public Places Field Guide, designed by Madhouse Creative, features nine zones and over eighty works of art to explore. The ABC’s of Public Art, illustrated by Merrill Rainey, is geared toward ages 3-5 as they follow Artimus the Owl throughout Northwest Ohio from A-Z. This is the second edition of the popular book. Both editions have now been distributed to over 15,000 children in the area.

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Vessel: Toledo Roundabouts Public Art Project

The Arts Commission’s Art in Public Places Program has partnered with Mercy Health to commission a public artwork for a roundabout in the Cherry Street Corridor. A committee of local stakeholders ultimately selected the proposal by artist team, RDG Dalquist Art Studios, for the commission. Entitled Vessel, this 20 foot tall sculpture was installed on the roundabout at Cherry St. and Manhattan Blvd on Tuesday, April 6. The sculpture will act as a vibrant beacon and landmark as travelers navigate the corridor. The full project, including landscaping and lighting, will be complete by May of 2021.

Murals

As part of the continued investment in downtown Toledo's infrastructure there are five new murals that were completed in the fall of 2019. Two of the murals are located in the Toledo Citiwalk Concourse system of tunnels that run from the Vistula Parking Garage to Imagination Station. Artists include: Ken Dushane (Toledo, OH) and Timothy Smith (Los Angeles, CA). Three of the murals are located along Water St. and feature work by Maya Hayuk (Brooklyn, NY), Louise Jones (Detroit, MI), and Yusuf Lateef (Toledo, OH).

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