Thursday, May 26, 2016

Art Is In The Eye

Hope The Cow was privately funded

Despite the best efforts of Selectman Jim Wald, who managed to invoke President Kennedy, Robert Frost and deceased Town Manager John Musante all in one presentation, Amherst Town Meeting voted to refer (89 to 72) "Percent For Art" back to the Arts Commission, a nice way of saying No.

The article was changed at the last minute many times but the main change was to reduce the amount of the diversion from public construction projects from 1% to .5%.

That still comes to $500,000 if you consider the $100 million in town money on just the four main building projects coming up: Wildwood Mega School at $30 million, Jones Library $20 million, new DPW $30 million and the forever talked about new South Fire Station at $20 million.

"Portal" in Kendrick Park.  $10,000 covered by private fundraising

Thus the town would have gone from spending zero tax dollars on public art over the past six or seven years to spending $500,000 in the next six or seven years. Yikes!

But the main reason it did not pass is because the bylaw would not fund performing arts because they are too ephemeral. And apparently Hell hath no fury like a pissed off performing artist.

Others also had concerns about who would be the Art Czar.

The bylaw gave the Town Manager final authority on what project goes where and since art appreciation is not part of a Public Administration degree program those decisions could be controversial.

Although when the Select Board announces they have come to terms with new Town Manager Paul Bockelman, they should do a photo shoot of him riding aboard Hope.


Anonymous said...

Is Hope the Cow art? That's just one problem with the proposed 0.5% tax. The decision and choice of 'art' would be left to the Town Manager. Would we now add that to the interview questions? Please define your definition and preferences for art? Would we provide examples and rate candidates on their taste? What if our incoming town manager was a big fan of Thomas Kinkade's art? Would we like that as a town? I think its fine for this committee to fund raise but I don't think its morally right to force all tax payers (even those who don't care for art) to subsidize funding (local?) artists. If this moves forward it should be on a town wide ballot like the CPA increase, which I also didn't agree with but at least the entire voting Amherst public had an opportunity to vote their preference.

Anonymous said...

Im glad that we still have Hope The Cow

Anonymous said...

Please do not put local public funds to art.

It is hard enough for most to even afford the endless forms of forced taxation and still have enough for housing, food and healthcare. Most residents cannot even afford to pay for their own child's education, they are on public assistance.

Art is a luxury, something that the public cannot afford as a whole, but individuals can provide if they would like voluntarily.

To spend even $5 on art when the town has not addressed the basic needs of every citizen would be just plain immoral. But morals and government rarely mix. Those who waste away in government also likely have a twisted perspective on art, as they have a twisted perspective on all possessions....that they have a right to them.

Ironically, if we did not tax the heck out of most people, we would see more art, creativity and prosperity, but it would be by the people and not the government.

Anonymous said...

I would rather that the town purchase additional street sweeper machines and drivers and use them regularly. Also municipal pick up of lawn debris. Both these would beautify the town and reduce vermin far more than art.

Anonymous said...

drill a hole in the back of the cow.

Anonymous said...

They could just dig a pit and have the taxpayers throw money into it. Oh wait, we have that already.