Kennesaw to partner with KSU in applying for public arts funds

benches by KSU students in the Kennesaw State University Master Craftsman ProgramThe benches, created by students in KSU's Master Craftsman Program, sit outside the Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History. (photo by Rebecca Gaunt)

More student art will be appearing around Kennesaw if the Kennesaw State University Master Craftsman Program is successful with its application for an Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

This is not the first time the city has worked with the MCP program, which is part of KSU’s School of Art & Design. Work created by students enrolled in the program can already be spotted around town. Gateway Park is home to a large archway sign and a sundial and two custom benches resembling railroad stakes sit outside the Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History. A third bench is geometric in design. Additionally, several decorative manhole covers are located around Kennesaw City Hall, along with custom benches.

The NEA grant is for $50,000 with a match of $50,000. The city and KSU would split that match, providing $25,000 each. The city’s contribution would be spread over two years with funds from the proposed 2021 budget for art installations.

According to the draft application, the funds would be used for art materials and equipment costs, such as laser cutters, a MIG welder, 3D printers and a CNC router. The proposed projects include five benches, 16 manhole covers, three sculptures and six pictographs, to be located in downtown Depot Park.

Economic Development Director Bob Fox recommended approval of the continued partnership at Monday’s City Council work session, saying, “I think it really adds something unique to our downtown.”

Also discussed at the work session:

*Finance Director Gina Auld recommended executing a lease through the Georgia Municipal Association for three 2020 Ford Explorers for the police department. The total amount of the loan is $110,288.13, with annual payments of $24,048.67 for five years. The interest rate is 2.95 percent.

*There will be a public hearing Monday so the city can begin the process of abandoning the right of way to Burrell Court and part of Keene Street.

*The Economic Development Incentive Committee recommended an abatement of the 2021 alcohol manufacturing license for Horned Owl Brewery. In order to facilitate funding for the project, the brewery obtained the license well in advance of opening, as required by lenders. Due to delays from construction issues and COVID-19, the business will only benefit from the $3,000 annual permit for three months, creating economic hardship. If the abatement is approved, the cost of the current permit would benefit the brewery for 15 months. The committee supports the abatement due to the creation of jobs and revenue streams by the new business.

Council will vote on these issues at the regular session on Aug. 3. Due to social distancing protocols, overflow attendees will be directed to the Ben Robertson Community Center where they can make public comments via video link. Meetings are also streamed on the city’s Facebook page.

Rebecca Gaunt earned a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in education from Oglethorpe University. After teaching elementary school for several years, she returned to writing. She lives in Marietta with her husband, son, two cats, and a dog. In her spare time, she loves to read, binge Netflix and travel.