With the help of Union Creative Agency, Logan city officials have begun the process of creating a Public Arts Master Plan for the city.
“At Utah State, they have a lot of public art that you can go up there and look at it, read about it, experience it. But actually, in Logan itself, we don’t have a lot of that around in the city. We are trying to take that and kind of build it,” said Mike DeSimone, the city’s community development director.
Since Logan already has a thriving performing arts district, DeSimone said city officials want to focus on visual art installments. These could be more permanent projects, such as statues or murals, or temporary ones, like the Main Street bulls. There is even potential for interactive installments.
Jake McIntire is the founder of Union Creative Agency, the consulting group city officials hired to help with the project. He said his organization’s goal is to use art to not only decorate a community but improve quality of life for residents.
Public input for the plan began last month when McIntire’s organization started gathering comments at the Street Dance.
“The way a community envisions something like art in their community is really important because there is not a real recipe for how to integrate art into a community,” McIntire said.
Mark Koven is a professor at Utah State University who creates public art installments with the focus of combining art and science in a meaningful way.
“Anytime you have a chance to create something that will engage the public, the quality of life for everyone, it brings everyone up,” Koven said.
Koven and his wife are members of the city’s Public Arts Master Plan Steering Committee. He said he has wanted to incorporate more public art into Logan for a long time.
“There are a lot of people out there that believe monuments and such are public art, but what I am more interested in is building a sense of community through that dialogue about what art is,” Koven said.
According to McIntire, having a master plan for public art helps installations better meet goals like the ones Koven shared.
“Without a centralized master plan for how to accomplish those larger goals, then communities typically tend to either see public art pop up at random, or they might be instituting that public art, but not with any effort towards a larger goal so it ultimately doesn’t really accomplish much more than some decoration or some beautification in isolated parts,” McIntire said.
McIntire said the public-input process for the master plan will continue into the fall and that his organization’s plan is to have a few more open-house type events where anyone can share ideas, and then they will move to round-table discussions with more focused groups. DeSimone said the goal is to have a plan outlined by spring.
According to DeSimone, city officials are approaching the idea of more public art in the community as a way to improve life for residents, rather than a way to boost tourism.
“It just makes Logan that much better of a place to live. It is just one more feather in the hat for Logan. We have got a great parks system, great open space, great trails. It is a great community, and it is just one more element to add to it,” DeSimone said.