Chapel Hill ranks as one of the nation’s top arts destinations. A recent American Style magazine poll places it 13th on the list of top small cities for the arts.
Chapel Hill was one of three North Carolina cities to make the magazine’s list published in the June 2007 issue. American Style ranks the top 25 arts destinations in three categories: big cities (populations above of 500,000 and up), mid-sized (100,000 to 499,999) and small (under 100,000). Asheville is fifth on the small cities list, and Charlotte ranks 18th among big cities.
The Chapel Hill Town Council in March 2002 established the Town’s Percent for Art Ordinance, which allocates 1 percent of selected capital projects for the creation and maintenance of permanent works of public art. Funding for Percent for Art projects comes from each project’s construction budget, which can include federal, state, county, town, and private support. In North Carolina, the only other cities with percent-for-art programs are Asheville and Charlotte.
“Public art enriches our lives and helps define the unique and special qualities of Chapel Hill,” said Mayor Kevin Foy.
Percent for Art commissions are administered by the Chapel Hill Public Arts Commission. Chapel Hill’s growing indoor and outdoor public art collection totals over 50 works of art in a variety of media. This art collection has been assembled over the years through private donations and commissions.
Recently installed public art pieces, valued at $420,000, are a semi-circular 30 foot long stone wall and a 40-foot marble bench outside the new Town Operations Center. The works were crafted by artist Larry Kirkland of Washington, D.C.