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Calgary Public Art Program Spared Cuts

02/23/2015 03:46 EST | Updated 02/23/2015 03:59 EST
whistlepunch/Flickr
Sculpture is 12 metres tall and installed on January 28, 2013 in front of The Bow in downtown Calgary.

The City of Calgary's Public Art Program will remain intact next year, despite a motion to have it suspended while the province faces financial woes due to the falling price of oil.

On Monday, city councillors voted 9-5 against a motion to debate freezing the program, reports Global News.

Coun. Peter Demong filed the controversial motion last week, arguing that the city could save $2-4 million in 2015.

He told CBC News he's "not against public art in any way, shape or form," but that the suspension of the program would symbolically show that the city empathizes with upcoming provincial cuts and job losses.

The city’s public art policy allows up to $4 million from any single capital project to be put towards art.

Many, including Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, called the proposal short-sighted.

"The declining price of oil has the square root of zero to do with our public arts budget,” he told artists as last week's Mayor's Lunch for Arts Champions, reports Metro Calgary.

According to the Calgary Herald, the savings would have come from the city's infrastructure budget, which is currently worth more than $1 billion per year.

As well, city manager Jeff Fielding told the Herald there have already been savings of $20 million found in other areas of city spending, and those details will be revealed in the coming months.

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