Mayor Coleen J. Seng and representatives of the Downtown Lincoln Association (DLA) and the Lincoln Arts Council (LAC) today announced plans to designate and develop 12th Street from “M” to “R” as a premier arts corridor celebrating the visual and performing arts. The City of Lincoln, DLA and LAC are working with 12th Street property owners, arts supporters and UNL representatives to further enhance the corridor’s arts identity through more public art, outdoor performances and unique features.
“12th Street already has a concentration of arts and entertainment attractions,” said Mayor Seng. “It is anchored to the north by the Lied Center, the Torn Notebook sculpture, the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and the Howell Theatre, while the southern end is home to July Jamm and the Solar Semaphore sculpture. The new entertainment complex will further position 12th Street as an arts and entertainment destination.”
To officially kick off the effort, a three-month display of up to 38 Tour de Lincoln bike sculptures will immediately follow the October 3rd bike auction at Haymarket Park. Businesses, organizations and individuals purchasing bikes will be encouraged to display them along 12th Street before moving them to permanent locations in January 2004. A limited number of permanent bike sculpture sites along 12th Street will also be available.
“Since the Tour de Lincoln bikes first appeared, Lincolnites of all ages have expressed their wish to see the bikes remain in Lincoln and be publicly displayed,” said Liz Shea-McCoy, Chair of the Tour de Lincoln project and LAC President. “12th Street offers a wonderful opportunity for a large number of bike sculptures to be viewed in a single setting during a time of year when thousands of visitors are downtown for football games, the Star City Parade and other events.”
In a related announcement, Kim Heald, a board member of Friends of the Center for Great Plains Studies, announced that all but $15,000 has been raised of the $180,000 needed to purchase a sculpture by George Lundeen and place it outside the Center’s gallery at 12th and “Q.” It is called “On the Trail of Discovery: Commemorating the Journey of Lewis and Clark, 1804-1806.”
“Over the last 20 years, the Center for Great Plains Studies has housed the journals of Lewis and Clark by UNL historian Gary Moulton,” said Reece Summers, Curator of the Center for Great Plains Studies. “The installation of the sculpture in 2004 will not only help to commemorate this critical event in American history, but will also provide a wonderful opportunity to help connect pedestrians to the collection contained inside the building.”
The concept of 12th Street as an arts corridor first emerged in 1996, when DLA and the City began planning the development of the “P” Street MarketPlace to strengthen links between the Haymarket area and the downtown entertainment district. The idea resurfaced earlier this year in conjunction with the City’s rebuilding of the 12th Street streetscape, now under way.
“Property owners along the corridor as well as arts advocates and downtown supporters loved the idea of 12th Street having a distinctive arts identity,” said Jeff Cole of the City’s Urban Development Department who is the project’s director.
An Arts Corridor Steering Committee was appointed by Mayor Seng in June and includes representatives from a wide range of businesses, arts organizations and local foundations. The Steering Committee is chaired by Ken Hake of Security Federal, a past President of both the DLA and the LAC.
“The arts corridor concept is a wonderful example of private and public interests working together to benefit Lincoln,” said Hake. “While City involvement and cooperation is needed for implementation of the effort, funding for the public art along the corridor will come from private funds.”
Hake said the Steering Committee and businesses along the corridor are currently exploring a wide range of ideas and projects. “As it develops, 12th Street will hopefully be the venue for more permanent art pieces like the Lewis and Clark sculpture, more temporary displays like Tour de Lincoln, more sidewalk art like the leaves which grace the new sidewalks in front of the Arbor Day Foundation building at 12th and ‘P’ as well as some new art forms, such as projection art,” said Hake.
Doors open at 5 p.m. for the Tour de Lincoln auction October 3 at Haymarket Park. The auction begins at 6:45 p.m. A free preview party will be held from 4:30 to 10 p.m. October 2. Those wanting to bid are encouraged to register in advance through the LAC web site at www.artscene.org. More information on the Tour de Lincoln auction and opportunities for 12th Street bike sculpture placement is available by calling (402) 890-1022.