Who says I don’t understand the “art of compromise?!” There have been some ongoing issues with the final location of my proposed 1% Public Art Sculpture “Bicycle Bloom.” My proposed sculpture was one of 5 new Public Artworks scheduled to be installed this Spring as part of the Mt. View renewal and beautification project along Mt. View Drive and the new Bragaw overpass. There have been several new businesses and capital improvements taking part in the revitalization –including a new Jr. High School and Credit Union One building. On Wednesday, a site meeting was called for all the core-interested parties to discuss and hopefully resolve the current “issues” with regard to the final placement of my sculpture (there are no site issues with the other 4 sculptures). Though there have already been several meetings and plans drawn up with the landscape engineers and architects, the public art engineer as well as approvals from the Mt. View Road Improvement Public Art Selection Committee, there is still not a final go-ahead for my sculpture –which I need before ANY fabrication can begin. I didn’t select the site for “Bicycle Bloom,” the 6 member Public Art committee decided the appropriate locations for each work. A short
story long is that the architects for the newly constructed “financial institution” feel the already committee approved public art sculpture “Bicycle Bloom” will impede the view of not only the front of their new building but also obstruct window views from within the lobby –though the sculpture is over 20’ tall…
Our site meeting took place during a freak, Springtime snow storm in which Anchorage saw at least 8” of sloppy, wet snowfall! At the meeting on the very busy corner of Mt. View Drive and Bragaw was the Mt. View Drive Road Improvement Coordinator, the “financial institution” representative, a representative from the architectural firm, the Curator of Public Art and myself –the artist. With her arms crossed and not once making eye contact with me, the financial representative who was clearly against placing the sculpture anywhere near their new building bluntly asked “so how tall is THIS THING anyway?!” Just about that time a HUGE semi sped by trying to make the intersection light and completely doused all of us in dirty, slushy ice water -I am not kidding!! With my stomach already in a nervous knot, now soaked, armed with my engineer renderings, site drawings and architectural plans I shared my creative vision as was proposed to the committee last Fall. After a bit of posturing and everyone trying to “best guess” under all of the snow, where the planter and walkways would be placed I listened to their concerns. I offered to have my sculpture arch to the right instead of the left and asked what if it could be taken out of the large Public Works planter and “scooched” (technical engineering term) a bit to the right of their storefront windows down the walkway a bit. It
seemed to work and everyone shook off the slush, nodded their heads in silent agreement and thought that would work just fine. There was some final “have your people call and e-mail my people” as we all retreated to the warmth of our cars. As soon as the confrontation had begun it was over with and appears at least for now, a clear resolution to issues that have been going on for weeks.
During the meeting the only vision I had was when Gus’ adversaries meet, at least they show up with MMA body guards, thick-necked guys in suits and swords drawn! That would have been much more dramatic at the corner of Mt. View and Bragaw –don’t you think?!