He'll also interview the original artists, if possible, to learn when the pieces were installed and how they should be maintained.
In his final database, "I give them everything I've noted -- conditions -- and recommendations for maintenance. If something's really bad, I'll say you need to do something immediately, and who should do it. In some cases building maintenance can do it. In other cases we recommend a conservator."
Gwinner is working from a list of public art compiled last year by Naomi Bays, an area arts consultant. "It's not just government memorials. There's some private institutions that have public art. They'll be included too.
"It's a very solid list, I believe 47 works. We may add new pieces as others are remembered."
The inventory is just a part of the work McKay Lodge and Renee Piechocki, a Pittsburgh public arts specialist, are doing for the city this year under a $120,000 contract funded in part by a National Endowment for the Arts grant.
Piechocki will help write city guidelines for developing and maintaining public art, with recommendations of new sites, and will help decide whether the city needs a group, like an arts council, to oversee its public art.
Her first priority, though, is to create a walking tour of public art sites, to guide visitors around the city. She hopes to unveil the tour during FestivALL.
"My job is to figure out how new works can be placed," Piechocki told City Council members Monday evening. "You've seen the new bike racks and pier murals. We may want to tweak the system a little."
She showed slides of public art in Pittsburgh and elsewhere to show how artists and architects can work together in unexpected ways to beautify cities.
"How can artists be involved in your riverfront development? That's a way to make a place more interesting without spending a lot of money," she said.
Gwinner said he can't discuss the condition of individual works of art without permission from their owners. "I haven't seen anything horrible but, as in all cities, there are things that need attention quickly and things that don't need attention.
"Most cities don't have proper inventory systems and maintenance plans in place," Gwinner said. "City Council is being very progressive by doing this.
"It will help, not just the art work, but the overall look of the city. It's a way of protecting the assets."
Reach Jim Balow at ba...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.