Is It Art? Panel to Guide City's Cultural Amenities, Identity

Article excerpt

Cities are more than the buildings and even the people - that they comprise.

They are streets and sidewalks and bridges and sewers. They are business and industry and public institutions, as well as neighborhoods. They are architecture, public spaces and works of sculpture, available for both viewing and touching.

They are the musicians that perform in tuxes in quiet concert halls and the street musicians that set up on busy corners. They are the works of drama in darkened theaters and the mimes and jugglers in the public squares. Residents and officials in Chesterfield are starting to think about and plan cultural amenities as well as bricks and mortar. The city has grown so quickly since its incorporation in 1988 that it recently imposed a four -month freeze on residential rezonings. Officials want to step back and consider issues such as tree preservation, traffic and lot sizes. In addition, they've formed the Chesterfield Arts Commission. "We wanted to bring the arts - all the arts - to Chesterfield," said Kathy Higgins, vice president of Sachs Properties and president of the commission. The goals of the 2-year-old commission include: Assembling a brochure identifying and describing public art in Chesterfield. Sponsoring a progressive art dinner and tour this fall. Planning trips for commission members to conferences and other cities to research public art installations. Eventually hiring an executive director. For a recent forum called "Art's Alive," the commission sent 800 invitations to business and civic leaders. About 75 responded for a pleasant evening of wine, noshes, music by a string quartet and high-level discussion of public art, held at Logan College of Chiropractic - 103 acres of manicured green space on the ea stern edge of Chesterfield. …