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Miami may tap private developers for millions to expand public art

MiamiHerald / An ambitious, controversial and long-stalled plan by Miami city planners to tap into private development to pay for a wide-ranging expansion of public art now appears poised for approval, though it remains dogged by objections from developers and some prominent skeptics in the local art community.

The proposal, which seeks to build on Miami-Dade County’s widely praised Art in Public Places program, would require developers to set aside a percentage of construction budgets of over $3 million to finance the installation of artworks at their projects or in other locations around the city. The long-established Miami-Dade program, like many others around the United States, already requires a set-aside from public and public-private partnership projects across the county for art the public can enjoy.

The city says that adding purely private projects into the mix would generate around $14 million a year within Miami’s boundaries, compared to just $440,000 if limited to projects using public money. Most of that, or around $9 million, would go toward the purchase of art, but the balance would also cover financial support for arts groups in economically challenged communities and grants for renovation of historic buildings.

Backers have pitched the expansion, in the works for more than a year, as both a source of cultural enrichment for the city and an economic-development catalyst that would boost the fortunes of Miami artists and the long-term value of real-estate projects.

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