So the Mayor is “refocusing” his efforts on the arts. Short of press conferences and announcements, I am a little confused about what those efforts have been up until now. I continuously hear from artists in the trenches that they have no idea where the so-called “effort” has benefited actual artists (for full disclosure, I have been married to one of those artists for over two decades).
I usually don’t lift an entire paragraph from the Sacramento Bee, but after reading the story on the subject this morning, I had to read the following three times. And I am still not sure what it means:
The initiative is focusing on bringing the arts community together with novel projects such as a recently started Flywheel Creative Economy Incubator. That effort will bring together 10 artists, nonprofits and social entrepreneurs the initiative feels are doing cutting edge work, in a partnership with Sacramento’s Urban Hive.
WTF? Ok, all the gobbledygook aside, how will “the initiative” determine what “cutting edge work” is, and who will be the arbiter of cutting edge?
With all due respect to the Mayor, I sincerely appreciate him bringing to the light the need to highlight the arts in Sacramento. But this new effort just sounds a lot like another reason to issue another press release. I hope I am wrong.
Kudos to the Red Rabbit
Public art is often a touchy subject. It is the quintessential damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. You are just not going to please everybody. But it is an important part of our region’s landscape.
Two cases in point: The Indio Arch and the Red Rabbit.
When the City installed Gerald Walburg’s Indio Arch on K Street at 4th Street, it was very controversial. Back then, City leaders were attacked for spending public money on the piece. Then fast forward two years and it started showing up on postcards as a cherished Sacramento landmark (still is).
More recently, the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission and the County were criticized for the purchase and installation of the Red Rabbit (“Leap”) in the new gazillion dollar Sacramento International Airport Terminal B. Everybody seemed to have an opinion on the 56-foot sculpture by Lawrence Argent, and many not good. Now, it seems like Shelly Willis, Manager of Sacramento’s Art in Public Places program deserves kudos for the selection of the piece, and sooner rather than later. Leap was recently chosen as one of 50 winning entries (out of 500) by Americans for the Arts Public Art Network. Look for those postcards shortly.