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Old 03-06-2017, 02:35 PM
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Ries Ries is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Edison Washington
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Re: Government funded public sculpture

Originally Posted by vonfrese View Post
Read that the art funding trip is about to end. One reason apparently is the controversial element and that so much of this public art is considered distasteful and offensive to the public in general. Of course pleasing people was never really the intent of any sculptor as much as that of expression of something he or she personally feels strongly about.

Wanted to discuss this subject with other sculptors. Is public funding of public art viewable in public of any value at all? One reason I mention it is that the masses of publicly viewable art rarely has much if any attribution to it's author. In addition public art seems to be a magnet for negative criticism and this may be one reason the government may trash the NEA.
I think you are full of baloney.

First- whatever you read was speculative- a wild ass guess.
It IS quite possible that Trump will cut funding to the NEA.
However, even that is far from certain.
There are literally millions of conservatives and republicans who like the NEA, and many are already writing to their congressmen.
The NEA funds things like cowboy poetry, opera, highland dancing, and coal miner sculptures- its not exactly cutting edge.
And, the NEA funds almost no public art.

The vast majority of public art is funded locally.
I have been making public art since 1978.
And I have been funded by cities and states, by construction budgets, by private developers, by money raised in 20 dollar increments by the community, and by donations from rich people.
Pretty much every source you can think of.
I have done public art, for example, for churches, where the money came from the congregation.
I just did a project for a high school recently where the main part of the budget was a portion of their construction money, and then, local cement companies, electricians, and many community members kicked in to finish it up.

So- the NEA doesnt pay for public art.

The GSA does sometimes pay for public art for federal buildings- but thats not the NEA, and to pull that funding out of GSA budgets would be an entirely different change in laws and regulations. That could happen, too, but nobody has talked about it yet.

Many localities have laws that require private developers to include some public art in their projects, or pay a fee. I have done public work for developers in several states, and the money is all private, and I work closely with the developer, architect, and contractor.

As for "considered distasteful"- by who?
There is a seat for every butt, and an artwork for every audience.
Public art can include sculptures of cowboys, or cows, lighting, sound, paving patterns, stairways, seating- a whole range of things that virtually nobody considers "distasteful".

There was a controversy in Seattle 20 or so years ago, when a sculptor made the most butt ugly representational sculpture of Christopher Columbus, and tried to give it to the city. Enough people found that distasteful that it was refused.

In general, however, public art is in no danger.
Individual pieces man be disliked by some, but, usually, loved by others.

in the 40 or so public art projects I have done in the last 40 years, in most cases, I am either contractually required to make a plaque with my name and the title on it, or the commissioning agency does it. If there is no name on it, you should complain, and ask. I frequently google it, and find out who did something, if I cant find a name. It usually takes about a minute.
Been There.
Got in Trouble for that.
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