Doing her part for art
New city arts manager hits ground running Doing her part for art BY BERNARD HARRIS, Staff Writer
There was a learning curve when Lancaster city hired its first two public arts managers -- the first from Colorado and the second from Indiana.
Tracy Beyl, who took over the position this month, needs no introduction to the arts in Lancaster nor to the city's program. She was there at its inception.
Beyl moved less than three blocks to the City Hall post from her former office at the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design.
It was there that Beyl was involved in establishing the college's mural resource project a decade ago. That initial effort was to provide resources to people in the community who wanted to create public art. It later was expanded from murals to all public artworks.
When city Mayor Rick Gray announced the goal of establishing Lancaster as an arts destination, the arts college commissioned a study to point the way.
Now Beyl is taking the city there.
She envisions public spaces where people gather near interesting artworks, whether they're murals, sculptures or even bike racks or benches that are themselves functional works of art.
Beyl, a Mountville resident, is the third city public art manager hired since the program began 31-w years ago.
As a member of the volunteer Public Art Advisory Board, she has approved projects that have been brought forward. And she already is taking over leadership to implement those in development.
Beyl herself isn't an artist. Although she's spent her career working in the art field, her training was in advertising and communications. Her minor was in fine art.
"My forte is in organization,'' she said, "getting projects off the ground and all the right people in place."
Part of Beyl's job is working with community members to build a public consensus on art projects. That's usually done through public meetings and design discussions, called "charrettes."
Two weeks ago, on one of her first days in the new position, she reached out to some of the youngest community members. She was involved in leading a field trip to Mellinger Manufacturing Corp. in Willow Street so students at Price and Lafayette elementary schools could see the sculpture "Revolutions" being made.
The sculpture, whose two steel arches will include motion-activated colored LED lights, will be installed next month in the city's Brandon Park. The park sits adjacent to the Lancaster Rec Commission and Price school.
In addition to the design, Beyl also hopes to foster an appreciation of the engineering and manufacturing process that went into creating the sculpture that the children will see often.
"That's what I love about public arts,'' she said. "It's for everyone. It's not in a museum behind closed doors, and you do not have to know anything about it to enjoy it."
Public art projects also will be included in the city's upcoming renovations of Crystal and Rodney parks.
The city is attempting to incorporate art into other projects, as well.
A recently released request for artists asks for submissions to design a cistern to be built at Plum and Walnut streets, adjacent to the Lancaster Brewing Company.
The cistern will be constructed on a porous pavement patio. Rainwater from the brewery roof will be funneled into the cistern.
The project combines the city's green infrastructure plans to divert rainwater from the sewer system with efforts to add artwork to public spaces.
"It will be something that is art but also useful, because it will water the plants," Beyl said.
As the city has with other projects, Beyl hopes to keep the money in the local economy by using area artists and fabricators.
The city has provided $100,000 for the arts program with capital bond funds. That money has to be matched dollar for dollar with other money, so much of Beyl's time will be spent applying for grants, she said.
The arts manager position was itself initially grant funded. The city received a $200,000 grant from the Lancaster County Community Foundation in 2009.
The last of that grant will pay part of Beyl's $45,000 part-time salary, with the remainder paid from city funds, according to Charlotte Katzenmoyer, the city's public works director.