More public art has been in the works as a leg of Lewisville’s 2025 plan for years. At the Jan. 22 City Council meeting, the city formally adopted a public art master plan that establishes how it will evaluate and pay for public works, as well as exactly where it wants to put them.
Turns out they want it just about everywhere.
The overarching goal of the public art master plan is to convey Lewisville’s identity visually, and more easily create lasting memories for residents and visitors. The plan singles out several spaces the city feels needs to be spruced up, much of it surrounding Old Town. The plan calls for three “gateway” projects at the intersections of Main and Railroad, Mill and High School and the point at which Main and Church streets split — the typical eastern, southern and western entryways into Old Town. The plan calls for art installations that make those intersections feel like boundaries, and that crossing them is a major event.
The Eastern Gateway project brings into relief the city’s ambition for Old Town to one day extend all the way to Old Town Station, or at least be visible from it. To get to the proper downtown area from the station now, patrons must cross several blocks of Main or Church street flanked by homes, businesses and churches.
An installation on the corners of Main and Mill is also in the plan, which could be built in conjunction with planned improvements to that intersection expected to start early this year. The Eastern Gateway project will be planned immediately to take advantage of this same construction. The plan states the other two intersections’ installations to be planned in conjunction with future improvements to those intersections. Wayne Ferguson Plaza and outside City Hall are also designated as spaces for public installations, though there is no timeline on these.
In the city’s Green Centerpiece, the master plan outlines a similar gateway installation at the entrance of the Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area, as well as keeping an eye on public art opportunities in the newly proposed $20 million nature center within LLELA’s borders. The plan also proposes a residency based in the nature center for an artist to continue looking for opportunities to put up public artworks.
The city will also look at the Multigenerational Center planned for construction in Memorial Park and the public library as places for public work. The plan calls for yet more gateway–type art installations on Corporate Drive for people entering Lewisville from the east and even along I–35, making the city visually distinctive even to passers by.
Finally, the plan addresses a desire for murals, particularly in Old Town. However, these murals are not to be formally planned and instead spring from the artists who would make them. The plan allows for mural projects to receive funding from the Art Projects Grants program after being proposed by artists, property owners or third parties.
Responsibility for determining which art projects and murals will adorn the city will fall mostly to the Arts Advisory Board, but pursuit of this magnitude warrants personnel expansion. Lewisville’s public art program is currently overseen by community relations and tourism director James Kunke, but under the master plan, the city will hire of a public art coordinator who would take over those duties as well as head up conservation and maintenance of public pieces and curate city exhibitions.
As for how all of this will cost and be paid for, the answer is eclectic. Very few of the projects are listed in the master plan with budgets, but the library atrium installation, for example, is estimated to cost between $125,000 and $250,000.
The plan enumerates a collection of funds that mostly funnels back to the city’s tax dollars. The plan is to use capital funding for projects like the ones currently planned on the Main and Railroad and Main and Mill intersections, which are being designed in conjunction with construction on those intersections. The plan also states that several public art projects are provided funding directly in the city’s 2015 bond package, including $246,079 for the multigenerational center. The plan also mentions the general fund as a potential source of revenue.
The city may also dip into hotel occupancy taxes, since public art would potentially be a driver of tourism. The plan also mentions drawing funding from the city’s tax–increment reinvestment zones, which are essentially designated areas in which a portion of new tax revenue after the zones’ establishment is set aside for local projects. Lewisville currently has two such zones in Old Town and the Hebron Station area, and while most of the money collected from them goes toward debt for previous improvements around those areas, the master plan indicates that there’s about $1.66 million in undesignated reserves. Those funds could go toward public art installations.
In terms of outside financial sources, the plan talks about fundraising campaigns, soliciting businesses to sponsor installations and even crowdfunding campaigns to pay for the artwork.
The full 80-page plan is in the council background material.