Updated: Aug 9
Tonight, the Petoskey City Council will be discussing a "Public Art Policy."
Despite hyper inflation and high property taxes, City leaders are eager to commit public resources and staff time to a thoroughly useless endeavor that is not the proper role of government.
To give you, the reader, an idea of the lame arguments being advanced - the ways that 'public art' can enhance a community - see the graphic (pictured).
ERG feels there's plenty of 'public art' in and near the City. It's called nature - the bay, the sunsets, the conservation land, the northern lights, the cool summer weather. No sculpture or mural can compete with any of that, and it's why tourists visit and visit and visit. Further, the committee which has been mulling this issue is a rubber-stamp one. Not a hard-pressed taxpayer or grassroots conservative in the bunch.
Finally, 'culture' is very subjective.
Say, the founders of ERG, wanted to commission a tasteful commemoration to the Ten Commandments and Moses, near City Hall, to remind the public how laws originated. Highly likely the idea would be instantly nixed by the art commissars, right? On the other hand, the crochet mural for 'Peace in the Ukraine,' a very political statement, was prominently displayed in the downtown with Mayor John Murphy's enthusiastic approval.
We hope that the Petoskey City Council would reconsider and table this government-sanctioned public art idea. The optics, after all, are terrible when so many in our community can't afford a house and are living paycheck-to-paycheck, meanwhile elitist leaders are frivolously promoting bread and circuses?
We are, however, bullish on 'state-of-the-art' when it comes to public infrastructure, public safety, and public building maintenance. And Emmet County needs more plumbers, carpenters, electricians, masons who are true artistes and culture advancers in their own right.
Update: Here's the discussion that took place Monday night about this art commission, et. al. It starts at the 45:29 mark. The Mayor reminded the Council that $40,000 from the city budget and $10,000 from the Downtown Management budget are available for the 'community' art endeavor.