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Sacramento Kings Announce Largest Public Art Investment in City History

Kings to Keep Arena Construction Tax Revenue in CitySACRAMENTO-

The Sacramento Kings are going to team up with the Sacramento Metro Arts Commission (SMAC) to invest $5.5 million into a new public art program, creating the largest public art investment in Sacramento’s history.

The Kings are looking to create a broad strategy to promote arts and culture in the new downtown sports arena, so the franchise will make several commitments through SMAC’s Art in Public Places program.

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The $5.5 million will come from the construction budget for the new arena. The project will be managed by a jointly appointed nine-member Public Art Selection Panel to develop a plan for the new art, and recommend to SMAC for the acquisition, exhibition, and maintenance of artwork, including artist selection and artwork design approval.

As for the existing art in the Downtown Plaza, The Kings will donate the art to SMAC.

“Promoting arts and culture is a top priority for the Kings and our ownership group,” said Majority Owner Vivek Ranadive. “We’re proud to partner with SMAC and this incredible all-star selection panel to ensure that the ESC makes a statement about the value of public art and its vital role in defining and activating downtown Sacramento.”

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Shelly Willis, the Executive Directer of SMAC, is also enthused about the project. She described the partnership as an “opportunity to make a significant artistic statement,” and said she is “thrilled by the possibilities.”

The Kings and SMAC also announced who they have selected to be on the panel. The partners strongly emphasized that they wanted a panel with an exceptional track record of support for local, diverse art. The panel will consist of the following members:

  • Lial Jones, Director, Crocker Art Museum
  • Paul Jacobs, CEO, Qualcomm Incorporated
  • Marcy Friedman, Artist, Art Collector and Philanthropist
  • Cheryl Holben, Vice Chair, Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission (term as Chair begins July 1)
  • Lizzetta LeFalle Collins, Writer, Art Historian and Curator
  • Annabeth Rosen, Artist, Robert Arneson Endowed Chair at the University of California, Davis
  • Rob Rothblatt, Arena Senior Architect, AECOM
  • Rachel Teagle, Director, Richard L. Nelson Gallery at the University of California, Davis
  • René de Guzman, Senior Curator of Art, Oakland Museum

“The Kings’ commitment to the creative and arts community shows that this is truly bigger than basketball,” said Councilmember Steve Hansen. “The heart of our arts community is at the center of the city, and it’s critical that the new arena and surrounding area embrace the vision of a vibrant, active place.”

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The Kings and SMAC expect the selection panel to be recommending an arts plan for the project as early as this summer or fall.

Greg Cotta filed this report.