City should spend more money on public art

I have never before written a letter to the editor, but I cannot stand by and watch our public art policy be slowly withered away by persons who do not understand how the arts enhance our world.

I have never before written a letter to the editor, but I cannot stand by and watch our public art policy be slowly withered away by persons who do not understand how the arts enhance our world.

City Councillor Gail Parks’ suggestion that the public art budget be whittled down to perhaps 0.5 per cent would take the heart out of the whole idea of public art.

It’s currently at 1.2 per cent, and I am of the belief that to “spread it around” the budget would have to be raised, not lowered. That way, perhaps more artists can be involved and more art would be available around the city. (Besides the 1.2 per cent comes out of construction costs only, not for design, engineering, administration, etc., so really the cost is considerably less if you take those into account.)

However, to limit art to just Red Deer artists or to Alberta artists would not benefit our citizens. Why? Because art from local, regional, national and international artists would provide a much greater appreciation for how the arts integrate people — artists learn from other artists and go on to improve their own work through collaboration, contemplation and encouraging new ideas to find fertile ground in artists imaginations.

The public see the benefits in the spinoff of not only to visitors to our city who come to view the art, but to help those artists with associated costs for materials, fabrication, shipping, labour, whatever it takes to get the public art into its new home.

We also take pride in our city’s forward thinking.

What do newcomers to the city seek but what the city can offer in respect to quality of life; and, art and culture is one of the biggest things that rate on their scale.

As to using local artists, some of our local artists compete internationally and many of them are well represented in our public art.

Just off the top of my head, I can name quite a few — Dave More, Brian McArthur, Dawn Deterando, Roy Mills, Michael Downs, Darren Peterson, to name a few.

To keep a healthy and vibrant arts community, I doubt that any one of these artists would be against going international to look for quality art pieces to enhance our city landscape.

Yes, we have a vibrant and growing arts community, but many of our local artists do not have the ability to go for large public art pieces. Many produce on a much smaller scale.

Perhaps by increasing our public art budget, we can use these same artists for smaller pieces in more public spaces. But I imagine, they would be extremely proud to be named if they knew they were competing on a much grander stage than just local.

Imagine their pride in knowing they were good enough to compete and win!

Look at the art in the Collicutt Centre, the Recreation Centre, along Alexander Way, the Ghost Project and our involvement with the Alberta Foundation for the Arts to bring world-class Alberta artists to our city.

Since all the competitions are an open call to all artists and are not hand picked, all artists get an opportunity to provide Red Deer with high-calibre art.

Instead of a repeat of a canal idea, perhaps we should be thinking of doing more public art on both large, medium and small scale and let the world start coming to us and thinking about Red Deer in terms of their vacation planning.

Imagine the spinoffs from that!

Diana Anderson

Red Deer

Just Posted

Tips to keep crime at bay this Christmas

’Tis the season for joy and celebration, but the Christmas season can… Continue reading

Olympic ski run designer creates upgrades at Canyon Ski Resort

Jeff Ihaksi says free-style and alpine ski venues are Canada Winter Games-worthy

Updated: Collision expert backs version of crash of driver accused of manslaughter

Daniel Newsham accused of manslaughter in fatal 2016 collision

Red Deer artist highlights the dinosaur connection of Alberta birds

Jeff Powers is fascinated by winged creatures

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau says his government hopes to make legal changes… Continue reading

All evacuation orders lifted in deadly California wildfire

PARADISE, Calif. — All evacuation orders have been lifted in Paradise more… Continue reading

Baylor ties pervade rape case that sparked uproar

DALLAS — The Texas judge who approved a plea deal allowing a… Continue reading

Champion Red Sox owe nearly $12M in luxury tax

NEW YORK — Boston should be happy to pay this tax bill.… Continue reading

McDavid, Draisaitl with three points each to lead Oiles over Flyers

Oilers 4, Flyers 1 EDMONTON — Connor McDavid had two goals and… Continue reading

All aflutter about our feathered friends

Christmas Bird Count will be held Dec. 23

Fashion Fridays: How to change your beauty routine

Kim XO, lets you in on her style secrets each Fashion Friday on the Black Press Media Network

WHL’s Thunderbirds, Silvertips open to NHL joining Seattle hockey market

TORONTO — The Seattle area’s major junior hockey teams aren’t worried about… Continue reading

Most Read