Art Editorial: Cutting Down on Art?
Milwaukee Benefits From Janet Zweig
As a member of the City of Milwaukee advisory committee responsible for the development of the sculpture developed by Milwaukee born artist Janet Zweig, I have been impressed with the quality of her work and the great care she has taken to connect this project to the Milwaukee Community. Upon her own initiative she has involved Milwaukee artists and fabricators in the plans. Hence much of the funding from the project will benefit the City of Milwaukee's economy.
The idea for this project is highly creative, non-intrusive and intended to engage citizens thoughtfully and creatively as they use the Wisconsin Avenue spaces. Her work has been successfully implemented in Minneapolis and other American cities. A recent copy of Sculpture Magazine attests to her national reputation as an artist who is greatly respected for her public art projects.
The particular concept for this project has evolved over the past several years under the direction of City of Milwaukee staff and volunteers from the arts leaders and public official of Milwaukee. The project been unanimously endorsed by the advisory committee consisting of Milwaukee area arts leaders and representatives of a range of Milwaukee departments of government and civic associations.
The arts form an important element of the quality of our city. It goes without saying that the quality of the arts, and especially public art, depends on our ability to attract and retain qualified artists. A reputation of default and disregard for the efforts of the artists who devote their efforts to improving our city will soon undermine Milwaukee's ability to attract the best artists.
In this case Janet Zweig entered into a good faith contractual agreement to provide the city of Milwaukee with a project to enhance the Wisconsin Avenue environment. She has complied with the direction of the advisory committee in every respect and has earned the right to execute this project without political obstructions potentially damaging to the city's reputation.
I trust that the Milwaukee Common Council will take the appropriate action to allow this project to proceed in a timely manner.
Curtis L. Carter is a philosophy professor Department at Marquette University and the Founding Director of the Haggerty Museum of Art