Hope The Cow was privately fundedDespite 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 fundraisingThus 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.