Art Is Long, Tempers Are Short

I found this picture here

If the comments after this Kitsap Sun story are representative of the community’s opinion of public art, then the two new sculptures in front of the police station are in danger of being sold for scrap metal and shipped to China.

Of 14 comments (as of 6 p.m.), two readers defended the pieces, and one veered way off-topic and blamed the former Republican Congress and President Bush for the country’s problems. But it wasn’t just the pro-camp that veered off topic. Some in the anti-art crowd suggested that the city money would be better spent to retain county employees and to fix state roads.

(It should be pointed out, again, that this is money from construction projects paid for by the city, and the city, county and state and separate political entities. Within the city there isn’t one pot of money that can be divvied up and sent to whatever project the loudest voice requests. And, also, the police department was involved in designing the pieces.)

Comments seem to be saying: public art is OK as long as 1) the public doesn’t have to pay for it and 2) it is appreciated by members of the public most likely to complain on newspaper Web sites.

Here are some choice cuts:

Posted by seattlermc on April 17, 2008 at 12:20 p.m.
Donate the art but don’t make me, the tax payer, fund it when we have to lay our county employees off the job to make ends meet. It just doesn’t make any sense. But then again something like this statutory requirement most likely keeps those who are in favor of the spending in the life style they can enjoy – me the tax payer, well, I’ll continue to go to my JOB and earn my money doing my JOB so I can pay taxes so someone without a real JOB can create the “public art” I have to pay for.

Posted by Jason1 on April 17, 2008 at 10:49 a.m.
Take that 1% and put it towards making the jails larger or actually fixing our roads/infrastructure. This is complete BS.

Posted by cya247 on April 17, 2008 at 10:48 a.m.
Look at police chief’s face in the photo. He’s drawing a blank. This is absurd.

Posted by berry on April 17, 2008 at 8:24 a.m.
… hungry babies can have their minds taken off how starving they are, by gazing at their reflections in the artwork. Public safety money should be spent on public safety; sidewalks, lighting, maintenance of vehicles, etc. Art is nice, but not necessary.

Here is the one defense of the pieces that stayed on topic:

Posted by rgdimages on April 17, 2008 at 10:42 a.m.
Public art is a small expense, and adds hope and character to the community.

People who complained about public money being spent in such a way are “uneducated and unappreciative,” this commenter wrote, which further infuriated the anti-public art people.

One unintentionally amusing post pulled this classic playground move:

Posted by ceakins on April 17, 2008 at 4:45 p.m.
rgdimages I’ll let my boss know I’m uneducated when I start my next software dev project.

Fine, but whatever you do, don’t tell your boss that you are reading at work.

2 thoughts on “Art Is Long, Tempers Are Short

  1. I didn’t even have to look at the article’s original comments to know they would be markedly negative and would contain excessive whining about public funding for artwork.

    The people around here are too predictable. 🙁

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