AMES, Iowa — Ames is looking for residents to help shape the city's future—the way Angie Ward has for nearly six years.
"About five and a half, six years ago, I walked up to this very spot, there was a beautiful piece of art that was sitting here," Ward reminisced, as she looked at another sculpture that now sits across the street from Ames City Hall.
Ward serves on the city's public art commission. The commission, in part, is responsible for placing art around the city. And she's hooked—not just on public art, but public service, too.
"The people serving on those boards and commissions are residents of Ames," said Deb Schildroth, the assistant city manager. "They know the landscape of the city, kind of the pulse of the city, and can bring forward the the needs and things that they're hearing around the city that can be very helpful to our city government."
The city is not looking to fill more than two dozen openings on about 20 different city boards and commissions.
There are commissions for everything from the arts to parks and recreation to transit and more.
"They'll provide information; they'll work in a recommending or advisory capacity to city council," Schildroth said.
Tom Lockhart, who is the chairperson of the commission on the arts, says it does take some commitment.
"It's like one meeting a month, typically. So, it's not a big time commitment. But to do it right, you do a lot of homework," he said.
But the time, he said, is worthwhile.
"You learn how the city really works and where your tax dollars are going. And you see the return on the investment," he said.
For Ward, it's a badge of honor and something she she can share with her family and neighbors.
"I actually have an 11-year-old and a 7-year-old, and we drive around town and I'll say, 'Guys, that was one that I got to be there when we selected it. And we decided to put this in our community, down in our neighborhood,'" she said.
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