You may have read about the infamous end to the BART art installation at Embarcadero Station earlier this year. After a decades long fight in which the artist commissioned for the work accused the BART Board of “gross negligence, mutilation and degradation of art” the piece was unceremoniously removed.
Fortunately, BART seems eager to avoid the mistakes of the past by drafting and implementing an Art Policy to govern the creation and maintenance of art in stations.
- Dedicate at least 2% of capital projects budget to art. This funding mechanism to has been successful in San Francisco since 1985, and similar programs exist in nearly 30 states. Additionally, the Federal Transportation Administration encourages transit systems to allocate up to 5% of federal funds into art projects, noting how important art and design can be to improving station vibrancy and appearance.
- Hire a dedicated program manager(s) to identify and leverage funding and existing partners and resources. With staffing, the arts program can be better implemented across planning, construction, and maintenance.
- Create an Art Advisory Council consisting of heads of art commissions, art organizers, and experts from the community. These advisors will be crucial in facilitating trust-building and will also lend additional expertise, legitimacy, and direction to the program.
- Think big – BART is an incredible resource to our region and its stations could be destinations, not just a series of uninviting platforms.
One thing we must remember, according to Director Tom Radulovich is that “implementation is the key”.
For inspiration on this issue follow the #BARTart for tweets from Director Josefowitz.