Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin
Mayor Kriseman is urging the public arts committee to hire internationally renowned artist and Tampa native Janet Echelman to install one of her floating, in the air not on the water, sculptures at the New Pier.
The proposed sculpture would cost about $2.6 million, which is not in the current Pier budget.
Currently, there is about $340,000 set aside for public art at the New Pier.
See Waveney Ann More, Tampa Bay Times, St. Petersburg's mayor wants to bring renowned artist to Pier, but at what cost? for details.
The Piers current proposed budget is $80 million.
Now that the original promise of "we build it for $50 million" has been firmly breached, the Mayor seems to have no hesitation to press on driving the budget higher and higher.
Echelman's work is often suspended in mid-air, and illuminated at night. It is truly stunning. Check out some of her works here: Janet Echelman Portfolio.
There are a number of questions about the Mayor's latest quest for all things big, bright and shiny.
Like what will it look like in the daytime?
How well will it withstand our occasional big storms?
How much will the maintenance cost?
Who will "operate" this piece of art and how much will that cost on an ongoing basis?
Where will the money really come from?
The Kriseman administration continues to dribble away money from the Pier fund, some $5 million in fiscal 2016, on studies, meetings, conferences, consultants and the list goes on and on. Now they plan to spend $75,000 studying this little bauble to add to the New Pier.
At some point, Kriseman needs to stop putting lipstick on the pig and just build it.
This Pier is not what the people want, not what they expressly said they wanted, and it never will be.
Running up the Pier budget, increasing the operating cost, is a lot like hanging new stuff on your Christmas tree year after year until it becomes gaudy and simply falls over.
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