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Wyoming legislators look to allow artless new public buildings

(Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — A number of Wyoming legislators are sponsoring a bill that would repeal a mandate that new public buildings include works of art for public display.

Wyoming Statute 16-6-802 requires that newly constructed public buildings include art displays at a cost equal to 1% of the building’s total construction costs (but not to exceed $100,000).

An example of a new construction project set to involve public art is the new State Office Building being constructed along Collins Drive in Casper. Artists have been chosen to create a large outdoor installation outside of the building. The installation will be titled “Past and Future Frames.”

“Rob Beishline and Shelley Beishline of Tooza Design in Salt Lake City, Utah have been selected to create an outdoor piece,” the Wyoming Arts Council announced on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019.

It “is a large scale, outdoor installation that combines wood and steel frames,” the Wyoming Arts Council said. “The piece references the site of the building, which is the former site of the CNW (Chicago and Northwestern Rail) rail yard and roundhouse, and connects to the industrial themes of the building’s architecture. The piece will be situated outside the building and will connect with Casper’s Rail Trail.”

Construction of the State Office Building is expected to be finalized in 2021.

House Bill 126 would allow construction of new public buildings to be undertaken without the requirement that public art be included. Should the proposed legislation become law, it would take effect July 1, 2021.

Sponsors of the legislation include:

  • Representative(s) Andrew, Baker, Bear, Burt Fortner, Haroldson, Jennings, Ottman, Styvar, Wharff
  • Senator(s) Hutchings, James, Salazar