Art in public places
There's something bizarre about sculptures in public places. Wonderfully bizarre. I mean, a statue or three in the quaint downtown along the pedestrian walkway that passes among the shops, those are less surprising to me. I enjoy those as well, but I can see the council arguing that it adds to the atmosphere of the places, and therefore encourages people to visit from out of town and spend their money to support area businesses (a tax benefit to the city several times over). So no shock to find them there (and we really do have a great Old Town for you to come visit and spend your money in...).
But how random is it to find artsy signs and other sculptures along the bike trail that goes by my house? It's a new trail, one that I imagine gets much less traffic than some of the others (at least so it seems to me as I run or bike on all of them). And especially south from us, where the trail wanders a bit before ending at a park. In one stretch where I rarely see people, next to a trailhead parking lot that never has cars parked in it, are a series of giant, well-rusted metal shadow boxes. They've been up for a while (and seemed especially random when there was nothing in them), but this morning when I ran down there (in the crazy wind), I found they'd added some mosaic-covered figures, leaning out from the boxes to wave at those on the trail. I love them. There are others, more whimsical and impressive out on the other end of town where a different trail currently ends. But I can imagine some libertarian-minded neighbors complaining, assuming tax money paid for them...which I don't know for sure for the ones near here, though I know the others cost the city quite a bit. I mean, what do they do? How do they add to our city?
I think that's why I like them--they don't, not in any practical-minded, short-term way. I'd like to hope that in the long-term they enrich the lives of those who live here, which adds to the city in intangible ways. Even if not, they're adding to my life, even if it's in ways that will likely never result in added money for the city. Here's to art in public places then!