School of Art and Design requests $50,000 from city for downtown art installations


Carbondale City Hall (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

By Olivia Spiers

SIU’s School of Art and Design is attempting to team up with Carbondale Community Arts and the city in an effort to beautify the Strip with new art installations.

The approximated $50,000 nature-themed project consists of six to eight functional sculptures such as bike racks and benches to accommodate the new bike paths and walk ways, said Marie Bukowski, Director of the School of Art and Design and a volunteer at Carbondale Community Arts. 

The project was introduced at the first meeting of the Carbondale City Council in 2017 and is scheduled to be discussed at its meeting Tuesday.


Bukowski said she mirrored artistic movements in cities like St. Louis, Memphis, Tenn., and Pittsburgh in this initiative.

“We really want to see the entire downtown area covered in art sometime in the future,” Bukowski said.

Carbondale’s project is set to be finished Aug. 4, just before the solar eclipse that city officials expect will bring 50,000 tourists from around the world.

“We are hoping that residents and tourists alike will enjoy the art enough so we can keep the movement going,” Bukowski said.

Leaders in the community center as well as the School of Art and Design are putting together a committee of five people that will be in charge of picking the artists who will be commissioned, said Lisa Janssen, artistic director of the art organization.

Janssen said the committee will be open to local artists, professors, city staff and members of the general public. No one has been chosen at this time.

City Manager Gary Williams said another goal of the project is to “highlight the relationship between SIU and the community.”


The overall cost of the project won’t be “set in stone” until the artists are chosen, Wiliams said. When the proposals are approved, the city’s street budget, which usually covers services like sidewalk repairs, will pay for the new sculptures, he said.

“We see this part as just phase one,” Williams said.

Artists who apply will be given the opportunity to place bids for the job on Feb. 1. Williams said the city hopes to utilize local talent and see applicants from the School of Art and Design. The deadline for proposals is Feb. 28.

Depending on the public’s response and the success of the project, Williams said more art could be installed in other areas of the city.

Sarah Heyer, executive director of the local group Keep Carbondale Beautiful, said initiatives like this “keep the city growing.”

“Anything that adds to the beauty of Carbondale is a much needed thing,” she said.

Staff writer Olivia Spiers can be reached at [email protected], 618-536-3325 or on Twitter @_spierso.

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