City Funds Public Art

Council decided 5-0 on Monday evening to continue funding for Art in Place for a second year. The public art program has placed seven sculptures around Charlottesville in locations where they would receive the most exposure from passers-by, in an effort to make art accessible to the general public. Two of those sculptures didn’t last more than a few months prior to being removed due to vandalism. The city will be spending $10,000 to support the program for FY2002, expanding the number of installments to ten. WVIR had the story on this evening’s broadcast.

31 thoughts on “City Funds Public Art”

  1. At the same meeting the Council heard the City Manager warn them that city schools and programs to help emotionally disturbed children are facing deep budget cuts because of state funding cutbacks. The story is in The Progress and on WINA. The schools are facing a $750,000 shortfall and the other program may come up short by $900,000. Then they unanimously vote to give a busy work program for Huja ten grand.

  2. Well, take heart: every dollar the City spends on art of questioned quality and value is one less dollar they can waste renting Christmas decorations.

  3. In Paris in the 1890’s an art dealer received the following overseas cable from an artist: “My name is on this. Stop. Therefore it is Art. Stop. Sell it. Stop.”

    The dealer did.

    Somebody alert City Council–every time we post something here it is Art and they have to give us ten thousand Art-in-Place dollars.

  4. In any civilization, should art ALWAYS be last on the list? What about art education? Just wondering what you all think about the place of art in society.

    I mean, as long as there is any poverty or hunger or ignorance in the world, should we just forget about the whole concept of art?

    I wrestle with these questions, myself, and wonder what the rest of you think.

    Janis Jaquith

  5. I think it’s highly commendable that Charlottesville actually spends a good amount of money creating and promoting public art. In a day and age where the NEA is horribly crippled and other government funding for the arts is obscenely low, it’s nice to at least have a locale that remembers to support the arts. Sure, there will always be those who complain that we’re wasting our tax dollars because there’s no finite, quantifiable return on that investment, but if they had their way I think this city would be a far less interesting and entertaining place to live. So kudos to the council for keeping this project alive.

  6. I too commend the City’s willingness to fund the Arts. However, there needs to be a sanity check in place.

    Funding arts education is, to me, an excellent and admirable use of our tax dollars. Anything that encourages development of the creative spirit, particulary in our younger citizens, is a good thing as far as I’m concerned. And I’m afraid the Bush Manifesto isn’t going to provide much in the way of arts education funding.

    But using tax dollars to fund education is far different from using tax dollars to purchase – or rent – art itself. When government does that, they are, in effect, endorsing the art and the artist. That can cause problems, because one man’s art is another’s junk.

    I’m sure reasonable, talented, educated people selected the works presented by Art In Place, but to my semi-untrained eye most of what I’ve seen is neither interesting nor inspiring. I’m sure some people think the works are awesome, but I haven’t talked to anybody who agrees. So to some people, at least, the Art In Place funding is a horrible waste of tax dollars.

    I don’t know if I’d go so far as to consider it a waste, but I’d much rather see the $10,000 used to relocate the Music Resource Center, or help fund McGuffey.

  7. Yeah! Right! We need some more twisted bed springs on the bypass. The fools are the ones who keep these people on city council.

  8. The first art was a gazelle scratched on a rock. Just for the heck of it. What if the local Caveman Council offered to pay ten thousand clam shells for art? Every cave wall would be covered with dozens and dozens of woolly mammoths called Statement And Variations On The Theme of Gazelle. Public art funded with public money deserves public input, to throw a little common sense into it.

  9. Will poverty and ignorance and hunger will go away, even if we throw all the art money at them? Consider the Pope living in marble splendor who hired Michelangelo to dress the guards and paint the ceiling. There was a lot of ignorance, hunger and poverty back then too. Do we care? No we’d rather look at the art. The ugly truth is that an investment in art lasts and an investment in suffering doesn’t.

  10. Then why don’t we try an investment in education? Knowledge? Two-parent (heterosexual) homes? Poverty will never go away. Neither will wealthy people.

  11. Goverments are the WORST supporters of the arts. Not because of the money they spend or don’t spend but for their tyranny of taste. Art has always had patrons and the best patrons are the ones that invest their own money.

    Today the impressionist are lauded for their vision and sense of color. The same artist were banned from French goverment salons because the goverment officials deemed impressionist works “vulgar and infantile”. It was in private galleries where these great works were first shown. It was only after great success that french goverment allowed the impressionist to be shown in public places. Goverments are best at paying for art as part of public buildings and things like the McGuffy art spaces.

    The NEA deserves to be scapped. Why should money from the states go to Washington to then be reallocated to the states. And this reallocaton is left to Elistist in Washington who were, on many occasion, more concerned with the race, sex, and national origin of the artist then the work itself. In the 80’s being culturally sensitive to an artist became more important than the art they produced.

    Spend my tax dollars on defense and public welfare. Try to reduce poverty and educate the childern with it. Teach art in school. But as for art itself, thank you I will buy my own.

    The great statues of Charlottesville were almost all paid for with private dollars,i.e. Paul G. McIntire. If you feel strongly donate the art or have the private sector pay. But in a time of budget crisis and call for tax increases pay for the the basics first.


  12. It’s not a public forum when the owner of the website (and thus, the editor of your comments) is also a candidate. There is no independent means of verifying that he isn’t going to edit/delete comments that are contrary to his campaign. Not that he wouldn’t do this sort of thing, but it’s just a trust issue.

    “Trust… but verify.” (I think that’s the quote…)

  13. I agree with Big Al when it comes to spending the Art In Place money to assist in relocating the Music Resource Center. $10,000 won’t help much, but I believe I would rather HEAR that money put to use HELPING children with “musical art” than to have to SEE these monstrosities beside or in the middle of our roadways.

  14. It’s not a public forum when the owner of the website (and thus, the editor of your comments) is also a candidate. There is no independent means of verifying that he isn’t going to edit/delete comments that are contrary to his campaign. Not that he wouldn’t do this sort of thing, but it’s just a trust issue.

    That’s a good point — I hadn’t thought of it. Just to get it out of the way, I have never and will never delete(d) a comment from The software, in fact, makes no allowance for such a thing. (Not that I couldn’t figure it out, but whatever. :) But you’re right, I could hypothetically behave in a manner that is contrary to the ideals of an open forum, slanting any discussion to be favorable towards me.

    In addition, I’m wary of using this as a platform to promote my own beliefs or ideals, so seeing questions directed at me in particular makes me skiddish. I feel like it’s using a soapbox that isn’t mine, but the community’s, inappropriately.

    That said, I’ll answer the question so that I don’t appear to be dodging the question. I’m generally in favor of public funding for art. I feel that it is a good and worthwhile expense. I don’t have the budget here at the office, so I can’t give you a tally of how much that the city spends on art, but I’ll bet it’s not a great deal. (Which is OK by me. We seem to be doing OK in the art department around here.) Given our current budget crunch, I can’t help but wonder why we’re funding this, but the fact that it’s only $10,000 and that Council endorsed it unanimously tells me that it’s likely a reasonable expense. They are, of course, more familiar with the budget than any of us, no matter how much time I’ve spent studying it in the past couple of weeks. :) In summary, no, I’m not concerned about Council’s endorsement of this expense.

    What I am concerned with is my lack of familiarity with the irregular verb “to be” in French, and the fact that I’ve got class at 5:00. So if you’ll excuse me, je suis travellieur en le fromage. Or something like that.

  15. Only heteorsexual homes? So much for great art. Michelangelo, among many others, was one who would prefer undresssing Swiss guards to dressing them.

    There was just a study out by the American Pediatrics Association endorsing gay couple adoption–ah but now we are on a different topic aren’t we?

  16. Blowing off the money spent on the Arts in Place project because it’s a small percentage of the total sum of the buget is like someone who just lost their job deciding to go out to dinner because it’s not really very much money compared to what their annual salary was. Every penny counts!

  17. “When you have a dollar, spend half on a loaf of bread and half on flowers.”

    Unless you’re on the verge of starvation, both are essential to life.

  18. I agree and for one won’t shed a tear for the NEA. Looks like the Waldo rating shows he doesn’t agree with your views.

  19. It’s a metaphor, not necessarily literal “flowers” — the point is it’s OK to buy things that bring you pleasure, even when you’re poor, because life without happiness is no kind of life.

  20. and all these years I’ve been told” money doesn’t buy happiness”. Welcome back to the 80’s

  21. Wow – what a terribly skewed view of reality!

    If you’re poor (whether you’re a person, business, or municipality), it’s damn sure NOT okay to buy things that bring you “pleasure” at the expense of necessities (which is, I imagine, whey they’ve come to be called “necessities”). Should we fund art at the expense of providing for the public safety? Should we have lavish staff lunches the day after laying off 30 people? Should we eat at the Aberdeen Barn when we can’t really afford to pay the electric bill?

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