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Posted on Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

Ann Arbor City Council candidates: Where they stand on city's public art program

By Ryan J. Stanton


All eight candidates seeking seats on the Ann Arbor City Council took part in a recent debate hosted by the Ann Arbor Democratic Party. They also are voicing their opinions on public art in a new survey.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Ann Arbor City Council candidates have strong opinions both for and against the city's Percent For Art Program, and they're making them known.

The nonprofit Arts Alliance has released the results of a survey of local candidates running for office in the Aug. 7 primary, revealing their opinions about arts and culture.

Eighteen candidates running for everything from the Ann Arbor City Council to the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners to state representative took the survey, which highlighted a diversity of opinions on the city's Percent For Art Program.

Under an ordinance approved by the City Council in 2007, 1 percent of the budget for all city capital projects — up to $250,000 per project — is set aside for public art.

The program has been controversial and is repeatedly debated at the council table. It has survived multiple attempts to scale it back in the last few years.

Eric Sturgis, who is seeking the open 1st Ward seat on the City Council, said he supports the Percent For Art Program and would like to see it increased to 2 percent.

"This is great for the community and for people outside of the community," he wrote in his response. "I like that we use local welders, and would like to continue to see that."

His opponent, Sumi Kailasapathy, did not respond to the survey, nor did three other City Council candidates: Vivienne Armentrout, Jack Eaton and Tony Derezinski.

Derezinski, a member of the Public Art Commission, is a staunch supporter of the city's public art program, but Armentrout, Eaton and Kailasapathy all have raised concerns about it.

Sally Hart Petersen, who is challenging Derezinski in the 2nd Ward, said she supports the Percent For Art Program, but but would like to see the city make three key changes.

She thinks the public should have the chance to vote on the top three artists selected as finalists before any final decisions are made, she'd like to see more local artists considered, and she'd like to broaden the scope of what can be funded, such as art programs in schools.

Chuck Warpehoski, who is taking on Armentrout in the 5th Ward race, lamented what he considers "significant limitations" on what the city's current public art program can fund. He said it covers only permanent installations and it does not adequately focus on local artists.

"I would support a community review to evaluate if that is the best way to fund the arts and culture, or to see if we could establish an alternative funding mechanism that would allow more flexibility to support performing arts and other cultural programs," he wrote in his response.

Council Member Margie Teall, who faces Eaton in the 4th Ward, wrote in her survey response that she'll continue to fight to protect the city's Percent For Art Program.

"If we truly value what I believe to be the strong economic and cultural value of public art, we need to fund it using any tools that are available to us," she wrote.

She added she wished the public art program had more flexibility in terms of what it could fund. Right now, expenses have to be at least tangentially related to their source funds, but Teall would like to see public art dollars paying for performance events like FestiFools.

Eaton told this week he's not against public funding for art, but he doesn't think diverting money from dedicated millage and utility funds — the way the program is set up now — is appropriate. He suggested putting a 0.25-mill tax for art on the ballot.


City Council candidate Sumi Kailasapathy called the $750,000 bronze sculpture in front of city hall a "fiasco."

Ryan J. Stanton |

Kailasapathy told the city needs to rethink how it uses public dollars for art. She called the $750,000 bronze sculpture in front of city hall a "fiasco" and said she questions the program's legality for the same reasons Eaton cited.

"If we put it to the voters to decide whether we want a millage for art, that might reduce the contention surrounding this issue," she said, agreeing with Eaton. "Ann Arbor voters can decide whether they want a certain percentage going for art or not. This way we do not have to take money out of various funds."

Armentrout is on record calling for abolishing the Percent For Art Program, which she also believes is illegal and poorly set up.

The Arts Alliance is a nonpartisan organization that advocates for and supports art and cultural organizations and creative individuals and businesses in Washtenaw County.

The release of the Arts Alliance's survey comes as the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs on Wednesday announced an increase in state appropriations from $2.1 million to $6.1 million for its fiscal year 2012-13 programs.

"We are very excited about the support from Gov. Rick Snyder and his administration for this increase in funding," MCACA Executive Director John Bracey said in a statement. "The additional dollars will allow us to add a new capital improvement program, intended for the renovation of facilities and equipment. We also have a new logo to celebrate our future."

Bracey said Michigan nonprofit organizations, schools and municipalities must apply by Oct. 1 to receive grant funding for projects that would take place between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, 2013. He said the MCACA has about $5.8 million to make grants with this coming year.

Bracey said Snyder made the budget recommendation and the Legislature agreed. The money is coming from the state's general fund budget.

Twenty programs in Washtenaw County received a combined $183,580 in arts funding through MCACA for fiscal year 2011-12. Some of the organizations that benefited from those grants include the Ann Arbor Art Center, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, Neutral Zone, Kerrytown Concert House, Michigan Theater, Performance Network of Ann Arbor, the Arts Alliance, University Musical Society and The Ark.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Tue, Aug 7, 2012 : 7:50 p.m.

Regarding "We are very excited about the support from Gov. Rick Snyder and his administration for this increase in funding," . What the heck, I was told constantly that Snyder was the evil one incarnate and was going to kill cities. Reality check.

Douglas White

Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 10:43 p.m.

Like many others, I was shocked when I actually looked closely at the Dreiseitl fountain outside the looming police/courts building. At a cost of $750,000, its execution gives the strong impression, nonetheless, of having been done on the cheap. The raw concrete spillway for the water, with its graceless bronze design elements, the tilted bronze stele with its unimaginative flow pattern and glitzy LED display, all add up to a painfully banal piece with almost no aesthetic or conceptual merit. The Dreiseitl corporate machine, with its 80 employess in several offices around the world, may have done some fine projects, but that this utterly uninspired design of theirs was selected and funded represents an outrageous waste of our money and does not speak well for the actual implementation of our haphazardly designed, and perhaps illegal, percentage-for-art program. Spending much less on work by some of our wonderful local and regional artists could have brought a much-needed human dimension to the soul-less and forbidding police/courts building. By the way, in my opinion as a sculptor, a much finer water-themed sculptural fountain does exist in Ann Arbor -- the beloved "Sunday Morning in Deep Waters" by Carl Milles.

Arno B

Fri, Jul 27, 2012 : 12:18 a.m.

Judging by the posters on the back wall, I wonder how much independent thinking can be expected from these astute aspirants to City Council! At any rate, dear reader, you might be interested to know that "Voluntary Contributions" to the Michigan Council for the Arts Fund (MCAF) are no longer possible. The Michigan Voluntary Contributions Schedule (Form 4642, Revised 07-11), no longer has this option. With all of the Artsy Folks wanting a variety of Art projects, one might think that their past contributions to the MCAF would impact the MCAF funds sent back to Ann Arbor. Sadly, nothing of the sort has been received fom Lansing for years. I still have not heard anyone asking these art advocates how much they themselves contribute to the Art community out of their own pockets. If they say "0" or refuse to answer, I would say that their advocacy was meaningless and they should be disqualified from commenting. What do you think will happen when their spending runs out of other people's money?

Vince Caruso

Thu, Jul 26, 2012 : 2:16 p.m.

$1M for 'watershed art' in the Allen's Creek watershed when we can't get the majority in city hall to fund a meaningful watershed study of the extremely flood-prone and dangerous Allen's Creek watershed. We're still using 1968 data for planning on this watershed. And using stormwater utility funds to pay for the 'Art' (and police, road construction, tree planting, forester, ...). That's what I call 'Full-Bore' Green Washing mayor and council! Vote early and vote often Aug 7. And the darn thing still is missing some parts and is not finished.


Thu, Jul 26, 2012 : 12:58 p.m.

Have mentioned a number of times, I love art, embrace art, and would love to see Ann Arbor continue with art culture within the city. However, in these times of tight budgets, a re-evaluation of how funds are spent need to be considered. Art is a luxury -- full staffing of the Ann Arbor Fire Department and Ann Arbor Police Department are much more important as is sewer, streets, etc. These funds were not voted on by the public -- the council took it upon themselves to vote this in without any input from the general community. Added to that too many times the art projects don't even go to an Ann Arborite or Michigander. This is, in my opinion, a direct slap in the face to the many, many outstanding artists in the community. So, until the city budget makes it affordable to have the art, I say stop and get priorities in place.

Jay Thomas

Thu, Jul 26, 2012 : 6:02 a.m.

Still find it hard to believe they would consider closing pools and turning off lights before ending the art program.


Thu, Jul 26, 2012 : 5:51 a.m.

The "connected" politicians of Ann Arbor just love to create layers upon layers of bureaucratic entities designed to spend taxpayer dollars and promote it as "community service'. For an "educated" community, ann Arbor residents seem to be led by the nose by their elected officials. It's like common sense and the ability to question authority has been "educated" out of them.


Thu, Jul 26, 2012 : 2:44 a.m.

The addition to City Hall looks like a Bauhaus toaster. O.K., maybe it is the most efficient architectural design to maximize the square footage, so I will give it a "pass." Extremely Ugly, but we're stuck with it until 2050. The Really Stupid Urinal Fountain is another matter. Even if the cost was $10,000, I fail to understand why Anyone in city government in their Right Mind would have approved the design. Why not just fess-up that it was a Major Mistake and pull the thing out?


Thu, Jul 26, 2012 : 3:19 a.m.

The Art commission is making the decisions; they are not elected, but rather some group of self-designated "experts" who have only demonstrated their incompetence. They have not performed as professionals, and have not reflected the wishes of the community. They need to be fired. Put the art millage up to a vote and let the community decide if it wants tax dollars spent on public art. Let the public also decide which artists get funding for projects, and only include Michigan artists, if there is approved funding. Stop skimming the money from millage and utility funds.


Thu, Jul 26, 2012 : 2:06 a.m.

Can we divert funds from "dedicated millage and utility funds" to fix the potholes????? How about fixing the infrastructure first before putting hundreds of thousands of dollars into so-called art, the worst example of which is the city hall bronze fiasco.


Thu, Jul 26, 2012 : 2:03 a.m.

"Eaton told this week he's not against public funding for art, but he doesn't think diverting money from dedicated millage and utility funds — the way the program is set up now — is appropriate. He suggested putting a 0.25-mill tax for art on the ballot." Eaton has my vote. This is the right thing to do. And kick out this so-called Art Commission and let the voters decide which artists get funded for a project, and focus on local artists in the area and in Michigan.

Stephen Landes

Thu, Jul 26, 2012 : 1:27 a.m.

By the way, the "Fickle Finger of Fate Fountain" is both ugly and dangerous. Take a good look at the photo and think about a) no railings, b) a drop off, c) a wet slope, and d) a confined space at the bottom of the slope. The "4F" looks like an injury attorney's dream.


Thu, Jul 26, 2012 : 1:12 a.m.

i for one think this is a wast of money. times are tough and we spend money on art. lets fix some of the things that need fixing. put more lights on the stupid crosswalks. that will save lives. lives vs art. not to hard to figure what is the best bang for the buck. life or a statue.


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 10:52 p.m.

Art evokes . . . In the photo above, city hall looks like it is flipping our community "the bird." Then, water running down "the bird" represents precious Ann Arbor tax dollars going down the drain . . . Art credit: Hieftje et al. . .


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 10:48 p.m.

A millage vote would be great.Then a select few would not get to speak for all of us.Vivienne I'm in ward 5 and you got my vote.No more sneaky ways to fund what a few want.And if the millage passes then use local artists.No more stupid metal trees either like in West Park.Fake trees in a park.That makes no sense.Plant a real tree instead.

Stephen Landes

Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 10:20 p.m.

If we want to have a really attractive city I suggest we would get more "bang for the buck" by using this art funding to send city planners on internships at Disney operations, so they can see how real planners design and layout working communities. Seriously, folks, think about the traffic flow, mass transit, landscaping, sight-lines, and other aspects of a Disney park and then compare that to what passes for planning, design, and layout in DDA/A2 projects. Which would you choose to spend time around, a Disney Main Street or our Main Street? I am convinced that Disney doesn't spend more than we do (maybe even less), but they do it with a better idea of what the outcome of their work is designed to achieve. The results for us would be a community that is a work of art.


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 10:14 p.m.

Maybe Ann Arbor should look to Lincoln, Nebraska for some ideas about public art. The beautiful sculptures added to the ambiance of the downtown area and made you want to stop for awhile.


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 10:03 p.m.

By the way, the EXTRAORDINARILY flattering angle and parallax effect on this "fountain" picture rivals the most photoshopped fashion mag cover ever. Anyone who actually walked by this thing would know that this picture was meant solely to glorify (or least reduce the ridiculousness) of this "fountain." In real life this thing looks TINY, especially next to the enormous new Justice Center (not in frame, oddly enough). You can't see any of those ground effects unless you walk right up to it. Look at the angle of the Larcom building roof and the tilt of that church or whatever in the distance. You should save that picture to your desktop, print it, and take it with you when you walk or drive by there. Laughable (and disingenuous).


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 11:05 p.m.

Yes! It looks ten times taller than it is in this picture. The piece is totally out of scale for its surroundings, we drove by it the other day and I pointed it out to my family and they all said the same thing: "Wow that is the thing that cost us $750K ? Now we see why you are always complaining about it Dad.". LOL

Albert Howard

Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 10:03 p.m.

$750,000 bronze sculpture? Don't get me started!

Middle America

Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 9:54 a.m.

Don't get him started! If you do, he will eventually start talking about banning the Quran. Albert Howard is intolerant.


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 9:52 p.m.

Art is an expression of a great culture. My children call the red sculpture in front of the UMMA "inspiration". But art is also the product of abundance. First we pave the roads, staff and pay first responders, and so on. When we do that to necessity, we celebrate with art, parks, and festivals. Not the other way around.

Rod Johnson

Thu, Jul 26, 2012 : midnight


David Cahill

Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 9:30 p.m.

Oop! That should have been "bronze statue", obviously. Too much legal work....

David Cahill

Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 9:29 p.m.

Sumi is right - the Dryseitl is a fiasco. Another candidate suggested that it should be given to Ypsilanti and located next to the famous water tower. 8-) There was a lot of nice art at the Art Fair that could easily have been purchased as public art. I was particularly impressed by a bronze statute of a little girl carrying books. It would have been perfect for the Library Lane parking structure.

Vivienne Armentrout

Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 9:06 p.m.

In answer to the question from BHarding, the ordinance is funded by a dedicated millage in the case of roads, and by utility fees in the case of water utilities. There are court cases in both types of situation to say that such funds cannot be diverted to other uses. No voter approval of either use has been sought. I would support putting a millage on the ballot to let voters decide whether to be taxed for public art, but this is simply redirection of dedicated funds. I discuss this in more detail in the first post I cited earlier.


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 9:54 p.m.

And let's not forget that they INCREASED our water/sewage rates recently


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 8:58 p.m.

The controversy is not so much about support of public art, as it is about poor processes – the funding process, the selection process, the approval process, etc. I support public art funded by a taxpayer approved millage. I also support safety: compliance with playground equipment safety standards (if children are to play in the fountain) and compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards (if the area is to serve all). Unfortunately, an already poor process did not consider safety. Why? I have seen many beautify and safe public fountains. San Fransisco and Chicago have two of the best. Our City leaders need to improve the process for future art projects and also include safety and accessible design elements. More immediately, they must make the necessary modifications to our public art fountain area.

Matt Cooper

Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 8:56 p.m.

It seems odd to me for Ann Arbor to be discussing whether to buy art, which art to purchase and how to fund it when we are laying off firefighters and police, and losing our emergency services dispatchers. That $750k spent on that ridiculous atrocity some refer to as 'art' outside city hall could have put at least a few police officers back on the street and firefighters back in the firehouses. While I believe every community should have some sort of arts endowment, I do not believe this is the proper time, in light of these layoffs, to be so concerned with public art. Let's worry about quality of life issues and getting people back to work first and aesthetics when we can more easily afford it. Now is not the time.

Vivienne Armentrout

Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 8:50 p.m.

I did not bother to fill out the survey because my public position about this program has been so unequivocal. I could actually have said a lot, such as that our family vacations have always featured visits to art museums, most of our walls have original art on them, I love public art (just not this particular way of funding it), my father taught a course in the fine arts, etc. etc. But from the beginning I have been horrified both by the construction of this ordinance and its implementation. I've written 5 blog posts on the subject. The two key posts are and By "poorly set up", the writer is referring to my comments about how other cities restrict this type of program to really substantial public buildings like city halls and bridges, where some of the budget is set aside for public art on the structure. Not many cities tax sewer pipes and stormwater installations like West Park for art.

Vivienne Armentrout

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 1:01 a.m.

I have also commented on this publication and the Ann Arbor Chronicle numerous times, and I have a clear statement on my campaign blog about the program. We candidates speak through our campaign websites even to those who do not read other blogs.

Ron Granger

Fri, Jul 27, 2012 : 8:42 p.m.

"I did not bother to fill out the survey because my public position about this program has been so unequivocal." It may come as a shock but I have never heard of this public position you seem to think we all should be aware of. Most of us will never read your blog. Perhaps you should participate in the process and fill out the survey so your opinion on the subject becomes known.


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 8:49 p.m.

The City of Seattle enacted the original Per Cent For Art ordinance in 1973. In 2005 there was legal action determined whether or not it was lgal and a judge struck down the full scope of the ordinance and limited its application. It was highly controversial when passed and remains so to this day - facing a bevy of legal challenges. The Ann Arbor program is bad public policy, especially in today's economy.


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 8:44 p.m.

I agree with Sumi Kailasapathy that the $750,000 fountain in front of City Hall was a fiasco. (It's not very impressive and would be better viewed inside the lobby.) Taxpayer money for a German artist's work, when the state of Michigan is filled with incredible artists, is just wrong. We should be celebrating Michigan artists if we're going to fork over that kind of money. I'd like to see this money go for public demonstrations by artists: metal workers, potters, glass-workers and painters, etc., but Mr. Warpehoski noted the money is only for permanent installations. I never liked the NPR slogan, "A great nation deserves great art" because I thought it should be "A great nation creates great art". We can create a productive atmosphere for art if we work together. I'm interested in learning more about the legality brought up by Vivienne Armentrout, and whether or not the method of funding is really approved by the voters.


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 8:35 p.m.

You supporters and people who like art and think art is important need to stop looking at the percent for art issue in a vacuum. I like art too. I also think art is important. But even if I supported using money in a bad economy for art, these people make bad decisions with the money. They kept a huge balance for a long time, they increased the staff of the organization in charge of it (a guarantee of "programs" and "task forces" and "committees," etc. is that lots of your money will go to people's pay), they spent too much on one thing, the one thing doesn't look all that good or work all that great, then they put "public art" inside of a city building where people ONLY go to get judged or pay tickets. They do poorly with the money. They are not the ones who should get the money. We should stop giving them money to be in charge of. They should stop asking for more money.

Linda Peck

Thu, Jul 26, 2012 : 12:02 a.m.

Well said.


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 8:30 p.m.

Quit skimming it from the millages after the fact! That hasn't even been confirmed to be legal as far as I know (and there are legit questions of that). Put it on the ballot and let it live or die on its own.


Thu, Jul 26, 2012 : 1:59 a.m.

Absolutely correct. If it doesn't pass the ballot, then that's the desire of the community. Quit ramming things down the throats of A2 residents by a group of non-elected self-declared specialists who feather the nests of their cronies for the sake of their egos. Put it to a vote.


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 8:21 p.m.

Since these message boards represent the pulse of the community, any council member who supports the public art program will surely be crushed in the upcoming election. They may also want to think about adding a program to their platform whereby elderly citizens and out-of-towners can complain about Zingerman's sandwich prices. Maybe a telephone hotline that goes straight to the AAPD or something. Oh, and they should campaign on making it legal to hit baseballs at people in Burns Park because they own iPads.

David Paris

Thu, Jul 26, 2012 : 2:25 a.m.

From stillatownie: "If comments represented the pulse of the community, we'd be living in a MUCH different place ." You mean, like maybe Chelsea, Saline, or Dexter?


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 11:36 p.m.

Wrong! Voters represent the pulse of the community. If comments represented the pulse of the community, we'd be living in a MUCH different place .


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 8:21 p.m.

Now ask them how they feel about Boulder -

Elaine F. Owsley

Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 8:19 p.m.

Quick!!! Vote for the ones against.


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 8:12 p.m.

The art "bucket" comes from local taxes but seem to be spent on large, overpriced, poorly designed and planned art from other countries. The funds should support local artists and there needs to be a limit to prevent future waste of large sums of money on projects like the fountain. I would love to see Ann Arbor have regular local art displays which change througout the year around the city.

J. A. Pieper

Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 8:49 p.m.

I would love for the art to be from local artists, Michigan resident being the only criteria. We are often encouraged to buy local, and many of the AA citizens are making a great effort to do this, but our city can't? Have Michigan artists send in a picture, or model of their "art" and let AA residents who pay taxes vote on it!


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 8:02 p.m.

Dr. Armentrout is correct. The current situation needs to be abolished. What has never been emphasized by the media is that when the One Per Cent is funded from each capital improvement project the ordinace requires the theme of the art to match the underlying project's subject - hence the 55 million dollar sewer upgrade required the theme to be waste water and that is why we got the atrocious Dreiseitl project in front of City Hall. The One Per Cent for Art ordinance was criticized previously at a City Council caucus by Marcia Higgins, who felt there was massive overfunding of art due to the ordinance and even Art Commission members discovered that they were getting far more funding than they could reasonably use. The sad part is that citizens being evicted in housing foreclosures see the Dreiseitl project on their way in and out of City Hall when they appear for their District Court eviction hearings when the money earmarked for that project could have been used to fund a legal clinic to defend such indigent citizens in those foreclosure proceedings.

Alan Goldsmith

Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 8:02 p.m.

"Eric Sturgis, who is seeking the open 1st Ward seat on the City Council, said he supports the Percent For Art Program and would like to see it increased to 2 percent." No further questions of this witness your honor. Lol.

Rod Johnson

Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 11:55 p.m.

He's like a parody of a Council candidate. "1 percent for art!? I'll DOUBLE DOWN on that!"


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 7:59 p.m.

I like what Sally Hart Peterson said: "She thinks the public should have the chance to vote on the top three artists selected as finalists before any final decisions are made, she'd like to see more local artists considered, and she'd like to broaden the scope of what can be funded, such as art programs in schools." I think that would benefit the community, local artists or even Michigan artists and not hand over 750k to someone out of the state or even out of the country


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 7:44 p.m.

Isn't one $750,000 non-functioning sculpture fountain enough? I find it hard to believe there aren't at least a dozen things that money could be better spent on to improve the quality of life for all AA citizens.

Elaine F. Owsley

Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 8:20 p.m.

Just keeping the town clean and safe would get my vote.


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 7:43 p.m.

That sculpture out front of city hall is fugly. Not ugly, fugly. And what's up with the water trickling down there like a leaky pipe? What is that all about? Is that thing supposed to be a fountain or a sculpture? I hate it.


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 11:37 p.m.

What? They got some water to trickle out?


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 8:03 p.m.

Margie Teall absolutely adores it

David Paris

Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 7:40 p.m.

For a city as vibrant as Ann Arbor is, the 1% for Art program is absolutely necessary. I just spent a week in Philadelphia where a similar program has been providing Art for Philly since 1959, and it shows. Philly is an equally vibrant college town (except on certain autumn Saturdays, where A2 has a distinct advantage) with maybe just a little bit more history to it than Ann Arbor, and art adds an uplifting element to the city. Art is there for everyone to enjoy, especially those that are considering a life change that may include our town. So, even for competitive reasons, 1% for Art makes sense!

David Paris

Thu, Jul 26, 2012 : 1:05 p.m.

@snapshot: It must be the blinders, because I ran my Visa card through two dozen different restaurants & pubs, and not one of them had Philadelphia's balance sheet posted where I could see it... dirty bstrds! @Jay T.: for those that don't know, Philly is nothing like Detroit- No Comparison!

Jay Thomas

Thu, Jul 26, 2012 : 5:54 a.m.

Philly has become like Detroit for those that don't know...


Thu, Jul 26, 2012 : 5:46 a.m.

Philly is on the verge of bankruptcy. It's sufferning in the education department, crime, and city services. You, David, seem to be viewing the world through rose colered glasses, or in my humble opinion, have blinders on.

David Paris

Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 9:46 p.m.

Yes, Philadelphia is much larger than A2, but one percent is still just 1%. Maybe it could be collected differently, maybe it could be spent differently, there are any number of maybe's that can be applied, but I think we need to keep 1% for Art. SonnyD', if you ever have an opportunity to spend some time in a world-class city- like Philly, you may just change your mind!


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 7:45 p.m.

For some perspective, the population of Philly is 1.5 million; the population of the People's Democratic Republic of Ann Arbor is 114K. You may want to "compete" with Philly. Most of the rest of us, do not.

Jill DeYoe

Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 7:19 p.m.

Public art in Ann Arbor has never been impressive. Decorative at best; makes the city seem Midwestern, dilettante, cornfed.


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 7:57 p.m.

Ann Arbor IS Midwestern. Nothing wrong with that. We have creative, daring, original artists here...let's see their work instead of boring committee-voted fare.

Barbara Annis

Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 7:17 p.m.

Ann Arbor has a world wide reputation for excellence. It deserves to be thought of in this manner because it strives to be great. Support for the arts in all of its manifestations is a part of that equation.


Thu, Jul 26, 2012 : 3:33 p.m.

The $750K erection in front of City Hall has tainted what ever reputation we had.


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 8:06 p.m.

A2 should invest in quality art with a resale value if it needs to do so at all. A Picasso or Dali hanging in City Hall would be a lot better.

Angry Moderate

Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 7:48 p.m.

We have a world-wide reputation for building the most expensive non-functioning urinal in human history.


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 7:44 p.m.

Support for GOOD art is a great goal to have, but their track record on supporting good art is dubious at best.