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Alliance proposes Lake Placid public art plan

LAKE PLACID — A representative of the Lake Placid Arts Alliance outlined the group’s proposal for a local public art master plan on Monday, which calls for the creation of an inventory of existing public art pieces, suggests the creation of a maintenance plan for those pieces moving forward and the creation of an art fund.

The plan, presented by LPAA Chairperson Lori Fitzgerald to the Lake Placid Village Board of Trustees, comes as officials consider relocating two sculptures created for the 1980 Olympic Winter Games.

The Olympic Center on Main Street, which is operated by the state Olympic Regional Development Authority, is currently being renovated — and two sculptures on the property, James Buchman’s “Vans for Ruth” and Carl Nesjar’s “Sonja Henie Ice Fountain,” are expected to be relocated elsewhere. It’s unclear who owns the sculptures now, or who would own and maintain them once they’re moved, Fitzgerald told the board on Monday.

“Those are the kind of things that we’ll have to work through,” she said.

The LPAA wants to create an inventory of public art pieces that exist around the community, according to Fitzgerald. Once that inventory is complete, the LPAA wants to assess whether the pieces are in the right places, evaluate their condition and determine what maintenance will be needed in the future.

The LPAA has also proposed establishing “art zones,” which would essentially establish the look and feel of artwork to be placed within certain areas around town. The LPAA has talked about doing “pocket murals” along Main Street, but these art zones wouldn’t just be located in places popular with tourists, according to Fitzgerald. The LPAA is looking community-wide, not just in the village center but into the hamlet of Ray Brook and the part of the village of Saranac Lake that lies within the town of North Elba boundaries.

Fitzgerald said as of now, the sculptures around Lake Placid are “randomly placed,” and perhaps some of the pieces could be relocated to better tell the story of the community.

The LPAA’s public art master plan would also define what would be considered “public art.” The plan also suggests the creation of an arts fund — which could be funded in part by private developers. It suggests a process for both selecting and decommissioning public art, and recommends that the town and village maintain an inventory of public art and the condition of the various artwork.

The village board took no action on the proposal on Monday.

“I do think this is something we should … have some discussion on,” Mayor Art Devlin told the board on Monday.

Devlin thanked the LPAA for its work and said the public art plan would be brought up during the village board’s next work session.

The LPAA intends to also present its plan to the North Elba Town Council at a future meeting, according to Fitzgerald.

The LPAA is a subcommittee of the Lake Placid-North Elba Community Development Commission. It includes representatives of the Community Development Commission, the Lake Placid Sinfonietta, the Lake Placid Center for the Arts, the Adirondack Film Society, the Lake Placid-North Elba Historical Society and representatives of the town of North Elba and the village of Lake Placid, plus a representative of the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism when needed, according to the LPAA’s public art master plan.

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