Ann Arbor Delays $150K Justice Center Art

At its April 2, 2012 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council postponed a vote on the use of $150,000 for a public art project in the lobby of the new municipal building called the Justice Center, located on the northeast corner of Huron Street and Fifth Avenue in downtown Ann Arbor. The Justice Center, a new building next to city hall, houses the 15th District Court and the Ann Arbor police department. The postponement will be for one month, until the council’s first meeting in May – May 7.

Because it houses the district court, the building features airport-style security measures at the entrance, and visitors must surrender electronic devices like cameras and cellphones to be locked in cubicles during their visit to the building. Concern about accessibility by the public to the public art was the subject of councilmember deliberations.

The council expressed interest in using the delay to explore the possibility of moving the security screening to a point well past the entrance in the interior of the building.

The visibility of the proposed sculpture from outside the building was also a point of discussion.

At its Jan. 25, 2012 meeting, the Ann Arbor public art commission had unanimously recommended selecting Ed Carpenter of Portland, Oregon for the $150,000 project in the lobby of the city’s Justice Center. A task force had recommended the selection of Carpenter’s proposal from three finalists. It’s a sculpture called “Radius.”

Carpenter plans to create a hanging sculpture of dichroic glass, aluminum, stainless steel and lighting, including LED spot and flood lighting. Among the reasons for recommending Radius, the task force cited the sculpture’s metaphor: That the activities in the Justice Center have a “rippling” effect throughout the community, which echoes the water sculpture by Herbert Dreiseitl that’s located in the plaza outside the building.

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]