'Free' art donation a pricey proposition for Fort Worth

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by LAUREN ZAKALIK

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaalauren

WFAA

Posted on April 22, 2014 at 6:23 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 22 at 8:22 PM

FORT WORTH — The City of Fort Worth has 81 public pieces of art; half of them are outdoor sculptures.

The "Tabachin Ribbon," created by Mexican artist Yvonne Domenge and once displayed in Chicago's Millennium Park, is one of them.

"This is really unusual for us," said Martha Peters, Vice President of Public Art for the Fort Worth Arts Council.

Unusual not because of its unique design or canary color, but because the steel sculpture — which was donated for free — is now dipping deep into Cowtown coffers.

"We estimated $60,000 originally," Peters said. That money, approved by the City Council, was for transportation and storage.

Then, another $36,000 was secured to re-paint the piece, because it had suffered wear and tear from its time in Chicago and the trip to Fort Worth.

But on Tuesday, a request at City Council caught Council member Jungus Jordan by surprise. The Arts Council asked for another $35,000 to ensure the piece can be properly installed downtown outside the public safety building.

That would bring the "free" gift's price tag to about $137,000.

"It is unfortunate that we underestimated originally what the costs would be," Peters said.

But what Peters calls unfortunate, Jordan considers unreasonable. He's now asked the Arts Council for a presentation on the costs before a vote on May 6.

"I have questions on this, and I'm sure my citizens will, too," Jordan said.

The sculpture was supposed to be out in front of the public safety building in May; now it's looking a little bit more like June at the earliest.

Peters said if they don’t get that extra money from the Council, there’s a chance it may never be displayed at all.

"I guess the piece will be in storage, because the costs to install are hard costs," she said.

Peters said in retrospect, perhaps they should've traveled to Chicago to assess the piece before accepting it as a gift.

E-mail lzakalik@wfaa.com

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