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Public Art to Make Your Ears Bleed

August 6th, 2010 by Steven Gardner

We’ve seen plenty here about the fish and fisherman and the two ladies in Bremerton. Public art has its supporters and its detractors and the latter group has fun in the comments section of our stories. (“What’s the deal with the Flying Nun doing squat thrusts statue?” writes RB3. Personally, I thought she looked like Rosie from the Jetsons.)

Others are having fun with it. I do see people taking pictures, and Rosie gets dressed up from time to time. Look for a Gonzaga jersey this next basketball season, I’m told.

In Everett they’ve got a new wrinkle on the concept of public art. The city paid $350 for eight old pianos and commissioned artists to paint them. For a few weeks they’ll be out on the street for anyone to play. From the story:

Street Tunes was modeled after another art project, “Play Me — I’m Yours” by artist Luke Jerram. That project has featured pianos in public places in cities including New York and London. The pianos in Everett are planned to be on the streets through Aug. 25.

At the end of the event, Aug. 25, the pianos will either be auctioned, with the money going to the city’s general fund, or they’ll be put on ice until next year, when the event would happen again.

Is this something we should do? Should we encourage our artsy types to splatter some paint on some old uprights and put them in downtown Bremerton for a while, or Poulsbo? (Bainbridge Island would probably not stand for such clutter, though it might add to the city’s reserves.) Port Orchard might prefer calliopes.

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5 Responses to “Public Art to Make Your Ears Bleed”

  1. rockthebote Says:

    Does anyone in Bremerton know how to play the piano?

  2. Joel Says:

    At the risk of sounding stupid, why wouldn’t you want public art? We are treated to an onslaught of billboard advertising every day for everything from adult diapers to auto repair. Would it really hurt to have to look at a tiny amount of art, even if it’s something that might not appeal to us personally? Public art can be a huge draw for the community and it certainly enriches our lives, even when it’s something we might not find aesthetically beautiful. And in this case, if the pianos are sold it could also add to the local economy not to mention being a draw for tourists.

  3. Biff Bigman Says:

    Those who conceive of such nonsense have visions of hidden maestros emerging from the shadows to regale passersby with their magnum opera (sorry, studied Latin as a kid). Music worthy of the label “art”.

    What we get are untold renditions of “Chopsticks” in no apparent key.

    If we want public art — and I do — I suggest providing empty platforms where artists can display their wares. If the piece is considered brilliant, it will be sold. If not, it will be removed at the end of a month or two.

    Gawkers may gawk. Critics may critique. Buyer may buy.

    Anacortes does this, and it works.

  4. Snowball_InHawaii Says:

    It sounds like it could be a good idea to certain types of locals – my concern is that the streets could end up being a clutter of things that are entertainment to some, while being similar to a garbage dump to the rest of us – as well as something more to try to manuever around in town. While I am solving the worlds’ problems – the little “park” areas around the county, that are not much larger than a postage stamp, and of less use, seem to be just a waste of space, and maintenance money. I seldom see anyone sitting at these little areas, just staring at the surrounding concrete and asphalt, and the closed, vandalized restrooms and drinking fountains. I understand that there really just aren’t places in town to have a good recreation area unless you are there to play ball on a team or something – perhaps a lot of that is due to such areas being loitered by slobs who trash them, and make them undesirable for families or individuals just seeking a natural-type setting to study or relax – without waiting to meet up with their drug-dealers, tossing fastfood trash, cigarette butts and cartons, etc..

  5. cjcampbell Says:

    Pianos? Too derivative. Let’s see some originality.

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