Now that the Arts in Stark goal has been reached and the campaign is over, now that the next football mural is underway and now that I have a few moments to write, it is time to say something because I saw something.
Yesterday I attended a meeting for a community event in the Pegasus Courtyard of the Cultural Center for the Arts. I parked in the lot out front and entered the building via the main entrance. The latest mural is underway. It made me sad. No, not because it wasn’t mine, that is business. The artist chosen is extremely talented and for sitting on a scissor truck way up on that wall, deserving of every penny so he can buy good life insurance. What made me sad was the location upon which all this time and money is begin spent.
That location is “our” wall. The Arts Wall…..the greatest location ever to hang banners (remember the beautiful Kimono one?) to advertise and promote the Arts which occur within those walls. In case you are not familiar, housed within those ochre colored bricks are dancers, singers, actors, painters….the Ballet, the Theater, the Art Museum, the VOCI and at one time the symphony offices. Now to be honest, not many “art types” are big time sports people as well. Sports folks have their arenas and stadiums and fields. We have or stages, microphones and gallery walls.
So the location of this latest Eleven made me very sad. I would say angry but what is done is done and I’m too old to waste time on anger. Road construction makes me angry too, but so what, my emotions won’t change anything. No hard hat is going to pack up his cones and go home because I am getting wrinkles between the brows. Yes, I get the purpose of The Eleven project (read about it on the AiS site if you are not familiar with the details). But why that spot? The location of a 40 foot tall football mural on our Arts complex just seems incongruous with our purpose of supporting the arts. There are a many, many brick walls which could have hosted this latest piece. It does no justice to the Peart Sculpture “Morning Breeze” sitting now in the shadow of Super Joe. I would certainly hope a future football sculpture does not land nearby.
Yes we are a football town. But by meeting the AiS fund drive goal, does that not also say we are an arts town too? Could we have not kept a few acres (or vertical square feet for that matter) as a clean slate for the promotion of the interests of those who do not punt, pass or kick? As I walked into the lobby of our arts complex, for a meeting related to a non-football community event, I felt as if we had been tattooed once again by the Titans of Turf. They have Mount Olympus going up just north of this area with tentacles spreading over schools and symphony halls and homesteads. I feel sad that we (the art types) have been branded with a permanent image on the skin of something whose soul has nothing in common with it.
The completed mural will be great. Who doesn’t love Big Joe, with or without his panty hose? I just wish it had not been located “right there” outside the main entrance….where tourists may not understand that the building is not part of the Village even though it has a big logo on it. But fear not, we art types will tighten up our tutus, put on the pancake, and engage our easels despite how many times we get shoved aside.
I know that someone is thinking yeah, jk, but what if it was your work going up on that wall? Excellent question and I am not sure I would feel much differently about the location. But like I said, the choice was not an option presented to anyone, it was just declared. Business is business. As an artist, if someone is willing to pay us for what we do, most likely we will chug the kool-aid and deposit the check whether we like the taste of it or not.
PS – Congrats to the community for meeting the Arts in Stark goal and supporting those who live creative.