The city of Southlake approved plans for one piece of public art and is starting the process of creating a Veteran’s Memorial at Bicentennial Park.

Milenka Lopez, assistant to the director of community services, presented the plan for the Veteran’s Memorial that would be near the city’s 9-11 Memorial Statue during a council work session Feb. 20. Later in the meeting, council approved the final concept and contract with Vito DiBari for public art at the Department of Public Safety West building.

The outlook

Lopez noted the 2023-24 fiscal year Public Arts Capital Improvement Plans ranked proposed art projects. The top three were:
  • Installation of art piece at the Department of Public Safety West building
  • Veteran’s Memorial project
  • Town Square mural
Lopez said the total funding available was $570,070 before a contract to not exceed $100,000 was approved later in that meeting for DiBari, a Miami-based artist.

The details

The Southlake Arts Council started to look for artists in June 2023, and 31 applications were received for the DPS project. DiBari was chosen out of four finalists. He submitted five concepts to the Southlake Arts Council. The concept that was picked is a V-shaped piece with wings and the city of Southlake logo, as well as crests from the police and fire departments.

The artwork will be at a 30-degree angle and will be visible from Southlake Boulevard, according to city documents.

The project is funded through hotel occupancy taxes, according to city documents.

The specifics

For the Veteran’s Memorial project, Lopez said a brainstorm meeting in January led to initial ideas. Some of those suggestions included it being large enough to host military-related events and being inclusive to all branches, genders and conflicts.

“We are looking for pieces that are for unique, classy; art that creates a sense of space,” Lopez said. “Art that is experiential, and we believe that Veteran’s Memorial would fit those recommendations quite nicely."

Similar memorial projects from Denton, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, Frisco, Plano and Fort Worth were shown during the presentation.

What’s next

The city created a veterans community focus group, led by Robert Briggs, deputy director of economic development. Briggs said the focus group is limited to Southlake residents, and as of Feb. 29, six veterans have expressed interest in being part of the process.

The deadline to apply to join the group is March 8. Briggs said veteran could apply to join the group, and 12 people will be selected and notified starting March 11.

Feedback will be given to council this summer, and a call for artists by the arts council should happen in late 2024, Lopez said.

“There is so much potential,” Mayor Pro Team Shawn McCaskill said. “You have multiple ideas we could incorporate and put together.”