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Peoria Seeks Public Input On New Arts Master Plan

The city of Peoria is seeking public comment on updating its arts master plan from the last one in 2009.

The new version focuses on community engagement, ensuring accessibility and growth the city will likely experience in the next 10 years.

Marylou Stephens is the city's arts and events manager overseeing the process and said it’s important to recognize the diversity of communities when planning for the future. “Every community within a city, even every neighborhood, is very different and diverse. I think we have to recognize people in one neighborhood might see the arts in their daily lives very differently than the next community over," Stephens said. 

Stephens also described the economic multiplier of the arts for local businesses like the city’s current photo contest, which asks people to take pictures of their favorite things in Peoria and submit them. Cash prizes will be awarded to winners and their photos will be displayed in some of the key establishments in Old Town.

She said businesses connect to local artists and residents in meaningful ways whether it's a contest that brings in patrons to experience the winning entries, a musician playing happy hour or live painting exhibits during the city’s Second Saturdays which, along with the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts, also attracts tourists.

In a separate press release, Peoria Mayor Cathy Carlat echoed Stephens’ commitment to community feedback. “Arts are the heart and soul of our community. Art is an expression of our unique character, adding not only to the vibrancy and energy around us but also to the cultural and economic value of Peoria. The most critical aspect of this plan update is input from our residents,” said Carlat.

According to the same release, the city contracted Designing Local to engage the public and create the master plan from feedback and engagement.  

The comment period runs until April 2 and those interested can sign up to participate in more detailed focus groups.

After collating feedback, a draft proposal will be presented to the City Council late this year. If adopted, the plan would be implemented in fiscal 2023.

Tom Maxedon was the host of KJZZ’s Weekend Edition from 2017 to 2024.