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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes part in a press conference during the COVID pandemic in Ottawa, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau Liberals face confidence vote over proposed anticorruption committee

Bloc Quebecois plans to support the Conservative motion

A bottle of hand sanitizer is seen in Vancouver on October 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Experts say counterfeit hand sanitizer recall at Dollarama is a lesson for retailers

Fraudulent version may not be effective at killing bacteria and viruses

George Orme, owner of Jacques-Orme Funeral Home, and Dr. Henry George are seen with the city’s first ambulance at the Red Deer Exhibition around 1925. (Photo courtesy of Red Deer Archives)
Michael Dawe: Red Deer’s first ambulances were also used as hearses

There has been a great deal of media attention in recent weeks… Continue reading

Manitoba skip Tracy Fleury releases a rock as they play Ontario at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts at Centre 200 in Sydney, N.S. on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019. Fleury has brought on veteran skip Sherry Middaugh to serve as coach of the Winnipeg-based team. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Team Tracy Fleury adds longtime skip Sherry Middaugh as coach

Previously coached at the U18 and U21 levels

The main entrance to the Museums Island and the Neue Museum, left, in Berlin, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. A large number of art works and artifacts at some of Berlin’s best-known museums were smeared with a liquid by an unknown perpetrator or perpetrators earlier this month, police said Wednesday. The ‘numerous’ works in several museums at the Museum Island complex, a UNESCO world heritage site in the heart of the German capital that is one of the city’s main tourist attractions, were targeted between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Oct. 3, police said. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
Over 60 exhibits damaged at Berlin museums, motive a mystery

Surveillance camera footage doesn’t show obvious signs of anyone applying the liquid

FILE - This Aug. 13, 2020 photo shows a logo for Netflix on a remote control in Portland, Ore. Netflix Inc. (NFLX) on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020 reported third-quarter net income of $790 million. The Los Gatos, California-based company said it had profit of $1.74 per share. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)
Netflix reports a summer slump in subscriber growth

Added 28 million subscribers in the first nine months of the year

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw warms up before Game 1 of the baseball World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Kershaw, LA stars shine, Dodgers top Rays 8-3 in WS opener

Kershaw, LA stars shine, Dodgers top Rays 8-3 in WS opener

Manchester United's Marcus Rashford leaps over a challenge by PSG's Presnel Kimpembe during the Champions League group H soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United at the Parc des Princes in Paris, France, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
Man United wins again at PSG; Messi scores in Barca rout

Man United wins again at PSG; Messi scores in Barca rout

Most Read