Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Floating art sinking for lack of funds?

There have not been any estimates or plans for the operation, maintenance and up keep of the floating structure.

St. Petersburg, Fl  Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.
As the City of St. Pete heads for the finish line regarding art funding for the Pier and Pier Park, the artsy and powerful are in a nearly desperate race to raise the remaining funds for the project.
You can get some detail from the Tampa Bay Times Waveney Ann Moore Fundraising effort for Echelman art at Pier faces ticking clock
The Janet Echelman floating art piece at the Vinoy end of Pier Park continues to be more than a little controversial.
Janet Echelman Massachusetts based floating art creator has presented images of her $3 million art work, which would “float” over Spa Beach. Spanning about 390 feet the piece made of mesh and LED lights will be tethered about 15 feet from the ground.
While the $3 million price tag is just short of ridiculous there have still not been any estimates or plans for the maintenance and up keep of the floating structure.
You can get some additional detail  in my Bay Post Internet Post: Flotsam Jetsam and Floating Art. Also my post Will the Floating art sculpture survive state arts funding cuts?
There are a lot of arguments against this project not the least of which is all of this money could be put a lot better use for the local arts or the City in general.
For now, the truly artsy and privileged of the City are all a gush about the floating art structure. They also seem to be comfortable with the rest of the City picking up the long-range costs for operation and repair, from which I am sure the Echelman staff are looking forward to the revenue.
Council member Montenari seems to be the only rational thinker on this project and surprisingly Steve Kornell, who is usually highly suspect of things with uncertainty and unknown long-range costs is “all in."
As for the rest of City council, they just can’t seem to get by all those floating lights on a summer’s night. I wonder whether they will show up when the wind is at 35 knots?
This project is a bad idea on a number of levels and to avoid committing the City to some unnecessary expense and liability the Council should ask some detailed questions about how this thing will function, what the ongoing costs will be and where, besides the Pier subsidy, where will the money come from. 
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