Listening to the recent debate on the requirement for public art along the West LRT reminds me of the famous tress on 8th Avenue Mall. In the case of the West LRT public art, the Calgary Arts Community better prepare to be royally disappointed. Mayor Nenshi is going to screw you over; the precedent in Calgary has been set. Art along the West LRT will be lost in a Purple Haze!
The trees on 8th Avenue were also supposed to be public art, reflected as a percentage of the cost of Banker's Hall. However, if memory serves me, the funding was taken by the City from the arts community and placed in the hands of the architectural firm, Cohos, Evamy, the designers of Banker's Hall, slight-of- hand more often than not displayed by our City Council & Administration.
The "Stephen Avenue Trees" (the big white metal structures between Bankers Hall and TD Square) were supposedly built to reduce the flow of wind as it moved past the neighbouring buildings down the avenue. Their unusual shapes have resulted in a love/hate dialogue by both the arts community and the public at large.
Watch the bait and switch as this Mayor, who rode to victory on the backs of a number of communities, including the arts community, blames Administration or "costs over runs" for the loss of public art.
Remembering that Nenshi promised us all he would get to the bottom of the cost overages on both the West LRT and the infamous Peace Bridge.
To quote the Dixie Chicks, "I'm still waiting".