Comments on: New Public Art Projects In the Works it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: John Floyd John Floyd Sat, 02 Mar 2013 00:41:45 +0000 @5 Mr./Ms. ABC,

Recent councils have disdained and ignored the citizens who most closely follow local affairs, and have played the rest of the citizens for suckers who aren’t looking. Having done no work at all to discover/build consensus that public “Art” was wanted or what form it should take, council has painted itself into a corner: to start over to discover/build consensus is to admit (at least tacitly) that there IS a consensus that what they have done is out of touch in funding, selection process, and result. So, they are leaving the political work of building consensus to the commission itself, whether not this is the strength (or purpose) of the commission.


It strikes me that selecting designs that please the eye is a legitimate part of building public infrastructure (think, Broadway bridge). I think the same thing can be said of decoration (e.g. your tiles suggestion) when design isn’t enough. Commissioning “Art” as a thing separate from the structure being built seems like a different matter.

I’m not sure I have a strict definition that separates decoration from commissioned art, but I know it when I see it. At the very least, decoration should be an integral part of the structure, not an after-the-fact add-on.

@8 Mr. Kuhlman,

The only way to change policy around this town is to remove the arrogant and tone-deaf members of council. This bunch doesn’t care what you (or any other citizen) think. After all they are “Progressive Visionaries”, while you (and everyone else) are “NIMBY’s”, “Too old”, “Too selfish”, “Unenlightened” or whatever derogatory nom-de-jour this bunch wants to label the citizenry today (“Dim Bulb” was another recent favorite, for us in the 5th Ward.)

By: Roger Kuhlman Roger Kuhlman Wed, 27 Feb 2013 22:27:11 +0000 The City Council and the Mayor have no business forcing all taxpayers in Ann Arbor to fund Public or Government Art. A simple moral question is involved here. Those who want Government Art should pay for it out of their own pockets.

What needs to happen is for the Council end the % for Art Program and not let Government Art to be baked into city projects as sneaky way to continue its funding.

By: Timothy Durham Timothy Durham Fri, 08 Feb 2013 15:09:50 +0000 (#6) The new stadium bridge (and we all) could certainly benefit from some artistic flair integrated into the bridge. Right now, it’s pretty Spartan (heh heh, can’t have that!).. The divided panels along the walkway would be a great medium for tile installations, IMHO. I don’t know what they have planned, but I could see something like that really making an impact.

I think skillfully decorating public works projects is an excellent use of the “percent for art” program funds. It’s too bad the administrators chose to launch the program with the City Hall money pit. Reminds me of the launch of New Coke.

By: James Jefferson James Jefferson Fri, 08 Feb 2013 04:22:14 +0000 It was my understanding that the decommissioned canoes are auctioned off each year to raise money for the livery programs. They get about $200 -$250 each for them. Heck, they are worth about $100 in scrap weight if recycled. Why give them up for art? Cut them in half and bury them by the cascades? Sounds horrible. Plus, the auction is a great chance for residents to get a canoe at a decent price. This is but one of my many appalled reactions to this article. I think the worst part is seeing how the money continues to pour out for questionable benefits and services. $400k for stadium bridge art? Is that really necessary? $48k for Ken Clines architectural consulting? For what exactly? Wow it sure is easy to spend everyone else’s money.

By: Mark Tucker Mark Tucker Fri, 08 Feb 2013 01:59:37 +0000 Unfortunately, the DIA’s Inside/Out project is masquerading as public art. It belongs more in the realm of billboard advertising, I wouldn’t argue with advertising the DIA’s wonderful collection, but it shouldn’t be confused with public art. Unless they (the DIA) are willing to put the actual artworks on display (haha) then the posters/reproductions that will be mounted are simply advertisements for the actual works. Privately owned businesses can do what they wish in terms of participating, but this commission should steer clear.

By: abc abc Mon, 04 Feb 2013 22:12:14 +0000 Mary, as always, thank you for such a thorough presentation of this meeting. It is your thoroughness that allows us (certainly me) to see how this board is working and I cannot help but conclude that this board is spinning its wheels, yet again. Similar to the meetings in 2011 where a rubric to rank submissions was offered, discussed, and then ignored (maybe because it was flawed, which I think it was) we are now reading that this board is trying to develop a process to ‘engage the public’, where the obvious is not even acknowledged.

Any comments by a selection panel must be kept confidential until after the LAST presentation is DONE. I might even argue that panel members should consider not necessarily sharing their thoughts with other panel members prior to the last presentation, lest they artificially influence each other. I am kind of confused as to why this group did not even acknowledge that very basic aspect of any selection process. You cannot have ‘the public’ hearing the panel’s thoughts before someone else presents; they could easily text the next presenter and coach them as to what to include in their presentation. Not acknowledging or caring about the mechanics of what they are doing or saying has been one of this board’s underlying problems. They seem to want to make this political; open government / transparency / etc. I think they would be better served if they would concentrate on the nuts and bolts of what they are trying to accomplish.

And these thoughts are not antithetical to the OMA. The OMA does not require someone to say what they are thinking the moment they are thinking it. When its appropriate the panel’s deliberations can be made public.

I think comment ’4e’ above is troublesome and the discussion that followed from it tells me that the board cannot see it. A facilitated discussion with the public about art would be a circus. That board has been empowered to make the selection and I cannot help but think that by converting their authority into some kind of plebiscite under the guise of ‘engaging the public’ is just a way to deflect criticism. That said, I do not envy this board, their ordinance is ambiguous and their processes do not exist, or are convoluted, but they are not helping their cause by continuing to discuss things the way they do. On top of that they have spent a lot of money to do some underwhelming things, and more is on the way, and they are defensive about that.

By: Dave Cahill Dave Cahill Mon, 04 Feb 2013 21:04:33 +0000 It is a bit odd that AAPAC is not aware of the City Council resolution requiring all boards, committees, etc., to hold meetings that are open to the public. That resolution has been in effect for more than 20 years.

By: Vivienne Armentrout Vivienne Armentrout Mon, 04 Feb 2013 17:37:36 +0000 The idea of installing a QR code on a permanent sign strikes me as odd on a couple of levels. One is that a few of us still don’t have smart phones and don’t access information that way. Another is that technology may change yet again in the lifetime of the sign.

Are there any museum curators in the audience? This calls for good interpretive skills. I’d like to see the artist’s text more readily available than that. I’ll bet we have some local artists who would take this on as a commission. The Gallery Project, for example, excels in presenting ideas in different ways.

By: Alan Goldsmith Alan Goldsmith Mon, 04 Feb 2013 11:17:49 +0000 “Wiltrud Simbuerger, who presented the recommendation, felt that the selection panel needs a “safe place” for their deliberations.”

Maybe Herbert Dreiseitl’s office in Sinapore is available?