I’m all for public art. All the discussion, culture, and revenue it brings to the city are good. It’s exactly what a world class city like New York, New York needs to have, and NYC does it well. Now with the NYC Waterfalls and previously a few years back with The Gates New York has shone and proved that it’s got the vision, connections, ability, follow through and most of all money to turn an abstract concept that pertains to public space and its use into a concrete and enjoyable diversion.
My only question is could the money allocated for these public projects be used in a more thoughtful, more useful for more people kind of a way?
The Gates was estimated to cost $21 million, the NYC Waterfalls cost between $9-11 million to be erected. I understand that a lot if not most of the funds for these projects came from Mayor Bloomberg’s Public Art Machine, a private foundation for such endeavors. Couldn’t Mayor Bloomberg or the city set up a money raising machine to help the NYC homeless population, or help the MTA with what seems to be it’s eternal lack of funds. A fund to fix roads, for public housing, school lunches,the list is endless?
I also understand the fact that the expected revenue from tourists to the NYC Waterfall project is $55 million, and that the Gates had over 16 million visitors during it’s16 day run, making NYC lots of money and just as importantly inspiring people, and I’m not foolish enough to down play the importance of inspiration.
But maybe I am naive enough to think that if we, and I mean WE as a society and culture can build multi-million dollar saffron cloth gates in parks, and scaffolding backed cascading waterfalls in a time of credit crunch, housing crisis ,and general economic downturn then WE can do things only cautiously imagined before to help the poor and vulnerable in our society.
~ by MikelJason on August 5, 2008.