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Raleigh Planners Head Back to Drawing Board for Downtown Art

Raleigh leaders will try to come up with new ideas for public art downtown after a plan by international artist Jaume Plensa was scrapped last year.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Raleigh leaders have not given up on the idea of public art in downtown Raleigh. They are looking for something fresh, exciting and local to go in the city plaza.

Last year, a canopy of lights envisioned by international artist Jaume Plensa was canceled after concerns about blocking the view of the reopened Fayetteville Street.

Now, city planners are back to square one for art in the public square.

"We are very confident it will be an even better place than Mr. Plensa envisioned there," said Assistant City Manager Dan Howe.

City leaders want the plaza to be a gathering place, and they said public art will draw people there.

"It will be a good place for sitting in the daytime, for parties at night, and it will be surrounded by a lot of active uses," Howe said.

Artists, designers and other community members were expected to meet Thursday evening to brainstorm design concepts.

The city has also brought in an urban planner from New York who specializes in public spaces.

The design project will be presented to the City Council next month.