Iowa City looking to add public art celebrating the farmers market to Chauncey Swan Parking Ramp

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Ineichen’s Tomatoes at the Iowa City Farmers Market, Wednesday, May 9, 2018. — photo by Zak Neumann

Art isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when most people think about parking ramps, but neither is fresh produce, and the Chauncey Swan Parking Ramp is home to the Iowa City Farmers Market. The Iowa City Public Art Program is now accepting submissions for a project to add art to the farmers market experience.

In its announcement, the program said, “Protection from the weather in the parking ramp is an attractive feature but the area provides little visual appeal that could enhance the general farmer’s market experience,” so $7,000 has been budgeted to create “an aesthetically pleasing, creative and original design/artwork that makes the parking garage a more welcoming, tranquil and friendly place to be.” Preferably, the art should also make people passing by the parking ramp aware that it is the location of the farmers market.

“We don’t have any preconceived notions about the creative component from the artist,” Marcia Bollinger, neighborhood outreach coordinator for Iowa City, told Little Village. “It’s completely up to the artist. We included some suggestions about how the installation could actually occur, but the one thing is that it needs [is] to reflect the famers market, the things it sells and its environment and the energy.”

The Public Art Program page suggests such possibilities as murals or installations on interior and external walls of the ramp, banners hanging from the ceiling or adornments of the ramp’s support columns.

“Obviously, there are clearance issues if they wanted to hang anything from the ceiling,” Bollinger said. “And we have to maintain, or incorporate, some of the signage about how to pay for parking in the ramp and so forth.”

Details on the project, including how to submit a proposal, and information about the available space at the Chauncey Swan Park Ramp are available on Public Art Program’s site. All submissions must be received by 5 p.m. on Friday, June 22.

“We’re hoping to see submissions from local artists,” Bollinger said. “There’s a lot of talent in this town.”

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