The story has been a little slow to develop. You might remember a brief note here in May, and then a longer note at Salem Weekly.
The SJ picked it up right at the end of July. And the story now seems to have traction. Two opinion pieces followed quickly.
|News story, July 29th|
|Editorial, August 1st|
|Opinion, August 5th|
Commissioners also discussed whether or how to encourage the YMCA to take some responsibility in the protection and relocation of the mural and sought clarification of the City's legal standing. Staff reminded the group that the easement for the work, requiring seven years of maintenance on the part of the property owner, was never recorded.[italics added]Just in general, as we do with infrastructure, we have a problem with the total life cycle of a project. We budget for the initial capital expense, but we never factor in maintenance!
The scale of course is much smaller, thousands of dollars rather than millions, but the general problem is the same. We don't budget for ongoing maintenance and eventual replacement, for anything more than the initial installation.
The Mattingly mural needs another round. (And some notes on the last round.) From the minutes again:
Commissioner Cotter Howell shared with the group the Friends of Ma ttingly Mural’s interest in conducting some additional clean up on the Mattingly Mural. The group has $5,000 remaining from the last effort and is working with Dan Cohen to get an evaluation of restoration need for the work. Due to the damage to the lower masonry wall, the historic process supersedes art restoration. Staff will reach out to learn more about the historic process and next steps.And there is the Acid Ball Eco-Earth, a large and very expensive project which has been deferred because of the urgency of the YMCA mural.
For new art, on the Bottle Bill commemoration, it looks like they've picked out an artist. Back in May "Lillian Pitt, Mikkel Hilde, Saralyn Hilde" was one of the finalists, and
Commissioner Hernandez provided the group with an update on the recent Pitt/Hilde team site visit for the Bottle Bill commemorative work. The artist team next plans to bring a full size cardboard mockup of the work to the site to select the best location for the work’s display.Given the way the citizenry seems to be attached to the Peace Mosaic, maybe the Commission should consider engaging the public earlier in the design and selection process for new commissions. The Commission seems to envision a curatorial role for themselves, but it might be that something more collaborative would yield greater public affection for, and investment in, the art.
The placement of statuary in the street corner art wells downtown seems to be paused now:
The plan to install more pedestals has been placed on hold, pending further art acquisition. As the streetscape plan moves forward, there will be more discussion about incorporating art into the streetscape.This is a good move. The pedestal program has not yielded very interesting results, and it would be good to reconsider it.
|"Receptacle" is swamped by the busy facade|
(maybe in the morning it would look better, back in October)
Waldo Stewards on the elevator shaft of the Chemeketa Parkade might be "critter art," as is the Peace Mosaic, but at least they make that invitation, and kids are able to enter into a relation with the art.
Public art should not always be stand-offish, and the pedestal program suffers from that.
(At the same time, we should not get carried away about art as a destination. A supporter of the Peace Mosaic "spoke to the interactive and inviting nature of the mural as one of the reasons people come to visit Salem." Are people really coming to Salem just for that?)
The Public Art Commission meets Wednesday the 8th at 9:30am in the Anderson Room at the Library.