Philly controller questions public art maintenance

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 Damaged city-owned art (Image courtesy of City Controller's Office)

Damaged city-owned art (Image courtesy of City Controller's Office)

Philadelphia’s Controller says public art in the city has not been properly maintained. 

One percent of all public works money is dedicated to providing art in public spaces, and Philadelphia City Controller Alan Butkovitz says once the art is installed in some cases it is not properly maintained.

“For example they don’t have an inventory lists that tell you the value of each and every piece,” Butkovitz said. “They actually drill holes in paintings to attach them to things and they have not gone out and done a physical inspection for over 10 years, not since 2003. Their inventory doesn’t even tell you where the art pieces are located.”

Margot Berg of the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy says it’s a matter of money.

“Anytime you have a collection as large as we do and physically accessible as ours is you are going to find some condition issues and we do our best within our current resources to address condition issues when we find them,” she said.

Berg says it would take a consultant or another city worker to check every piece of art, and that’s money that isn’t available in tight budget times.

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