Langley’s public art protected

Insurance policy solution found

The City of Langley has figured out a way to insure its temporary public art at minimal cost to taxpayers.

At Monday’s city council meeting, Langley Finance Director Debbie Mahler said the Association of Washington Cities, or AWC, has agreed to include the art under the city’s umbrella property coverage when the policy is renewed in October.

The policy would provide coverage for an estimated additional cost of $100 to $200 annually, Mahler said.

The coverage would continue for future temporary public art as long as the city keeps its inventory of art and the value of the art up to date on its property schedule.

New pieces of public art appear periodically under a program of the Langley Arts Commission.

It allows artists to display temporary fine art free of charge in different locations around the city. If the artwork sells, the city gets 20 percent of the proceeds.

If the art doesn’t sell within 18 months, a new call for artists to submit pieces is released by the commission.

The city’s insurance policy originally covered only permanent works of public art it owns, such as Georgia Gerber’s Boy and Dog Park sculpture.

However, the city’s 2017 request for proposal calling on artists to enter into an outdoor sculpture competition unintentionally stated the works of art would be insured by the city and the city would assume responsibility for maintenance, repairs or accidents during the temporary exhibition.

The error was discovered after the winner, artist Dale Reiger, threatened to withdraw his work when he was told the city’s policy only covered permanent works of art.

The AWC agreed to provide coverage as a “one-time courtesy” when that discrepancy was discovered. Reiger’s piece is now displayed on Clyde Alley, which connects Second and Third Streets behind Callahan’s Firehouse.

A permanent glass and steel archway installed on Clyde Alley in 2016 is placed on the private property of Pam Schell, who provided insurance. It’s crafted by Lin McJunkin and Milo White.

A letter from AWC program manager, Adrienne Beatty, said it had figured out a way to provide coverage for the rotating fine art without charging the city for an additional separate premium.

“As you indicated the total value of all the art is approximately $31,300, based on property rates, we anticipate the increased cost to be between $100 to $200,” Beatty wrote.

The additional coverage will be added to the city’s 2019 assessment costs, which should be determined by October, she wrote.

In an interview, Frank Rose, former chairman of the Langley Arts Commission, called the solution “satisfactory” after months of discussions with the city.

“The damage and theft insurance coverage is a satisfactory outcome for covering artists that have temporary art installed on city property,” he said.

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