Source: NorthFulton.com

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Public art master plan in works
Chamber Leadership class leads arts effort for city

by HATCHER HURD

January 16, 2013

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. Whether in Rome, Paris or Atlanta, one of the marks of a great and vibrant city is its public art. Now, leaders in Johns Creek are pushing an agenda to create public art in this city.

Public art can take the form of monuments, statuary, sculpture, murals and even the architecture of buildings themselves. It can also include street furniture and street lighting. But underlying these efforts are the goals of not only making art accessible to the public, but creating a sense of public identity and community.

The public art effort is a project of the 2013 Leadership Johns Creek class, which is itself a program of the Johns Creek Chamber of Commerce. The Leadership class says its plan would enrich the city culturally and economically through the development of a master plan for public art that would include statues, commissioned sculpture and other media.

"Our public art plan creation is based on a collaborative approach between the city residents, arts community, not-for-profit agencies, stakeholders and the city of Johns Creek," said Chris Pullaro, spokesman for the Leadership committee that is spearheading the project.

"We believe that the purpose of art lies in inspiring powerful personal experiences as well as fostering social progress," he said.

After meeting with the City Council in November and getting positive feedback there, Pullaro said the next step is to collect public comment on the master plan.

They will include a map of potential art locations, guidelines for public art and a funding strategy, as well as create a list of corporate and nonprofit agencies that might contribute to the project.

To receive public comment, the Leadership team has scheduled public forums at 6 p.m. on Jan. 30 at Emory Johns Creek Hospital and at 6 p.m. on Jan. 31 at Newtown Community Center, and will post the draft master plan on the city website for public comment.

The Leadership team also will consult with other cities that have successful public arts programs. In six months, the Leadership team will submit the proposed plan to the city for adoption and the necessary ordinance changes to allow the plan to proceed.

Team leader Bradley Evans said the role of Leadership Johns Creek is to facilitate the partnership with the city.

"A vital part of Leadership Johns Creek is community service, which is achieved through the realization of our mission statement namely to inspire and engage the community to serve others in the way they work, live and give," Evans said.

"The city's need for public art is our inspiration to step up and serve."

Now in its fourth year, the Leadership Johns Creek program's mission is to develop leadership talents in individuals representing the Johns Creek community.

Through the chamber's structured series of facilitated learning experiences that also include leadership, training and development, class participants gain insights into business, government, community quality of life, volunteer services and local history.

The end result will prepare community leaders to step in on a wide range of areas where their talents best suit the needs of the city.

Johns Creek Chamber of Commerce President John Bemont said the Leadership Johns Creek program is to have a proactive way to develop future leaders and volunteers who understand the needs and the inter-workings of the city and its government.

"Leadership is something that you can't afford to allow to just happen. You have to nourish it and encourage it. That is why each class must develop a team project over the yearlong time they put into the project," Bemont said.

"It is a hand-on approach to learn how to work collaboratively to improve the city."