Cheney Free Press -

Staff Reporter 

Airway Heights council approves public art program


August 30, 2018

The Airway Heights City Council put into motion at their Aug. 20 meeting a plan to develop a public art program for U.S. Highway 2.

Several roundabouts are planned to go along U.S. 2 in the coming months, and these roundabouts present a unique opportunity to display public art, City Manager Albert Tripp said at the meeting.

According to council documents, with the project, the city is aiming to create an environment with memorable spaces for residents and visitors. The documents state that the city will be working collaboratively with the Washington State Department of Transportation, local Native American tribes and other stakeholders to introduce public art that contributes to the sense of community Airway Heights wants to portray.

The project is broken down into five specific tasks, the first of which is conducting an inventory of opportunity sites and areas where public art can potentially be placed. This inventory includes identifying individuals, agencies and businesses that may have a particular interest in those sites.

The Spokane Tribe has already submitted a proposal detailing an option for the roundabout set to be constructed in front of their casino.

This public art program has been in the planning stages for the better part of a year and a half, but still has a long way to go before it’s completed, Tripp said.

“We’re still very much at the beginning of this particular process,” Tripp said. “Right now the council has just approved us to proceed with this work program.”

The city will tackle the proposal’s additional tasks as the project progresses.

Task 2 of the proposal has the city holding interviews with key stakeholders to explore issues on placement of public art along the corridor, while Task 3 will explore how individual or business sponsorship and messaging can be incorporated, review the appropriate scale of public art and review ways in which an art program can be managed.

Task 4 is the production of a report that summarizes the process and makes recommendations on the type, scale, pace, location and evaluation criteria for public art along the U.S. 2 corridor, and Task 5 focuses on the implementation of an internal structure with staff to support the art program.

At the council meeting, members unanimously approved the project, agreeing that they want the art featured to be consistent with the council’s vision for the community.

The council discussed the possibility of reaching out to potential artists through local university art programs and sending out calls for artists to participate, but those steps would not be taken until later on in the process.

The project will cost an estimated $35,520 - $43,420 from the city’s executive reserve fund, according to a City Council report.

Shannen Talbot can be reached at


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