You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 5:59 a.m.

Ann Arbor planning several public art projects, including $250K installation at Fuller Road Station

By Ryan J. Stanton


A conceptual drawing of the parking structure included in the first phase of Fuller Road Station. Ann Arbor officials are planning a public art component to the north of the easternmost entrance on the north facade.

Courtesy of City of Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor officials have set a budget of $250,000 for a public art installation as part of the proposed Fuller Road Station project.

The potential for public art on the future site of what city officials hope will be a new transit center welcoming thousands of visitors to Ann Arbor daily was discussed by the Ann Arbor Public Art Commission at its meeting Wednesday.

The commission has a task force working on drafting a request for qualifications from artists, and city staff member David Dykman is managing the project.

Aaron Seagraves, the city's public art administrator, said the Fuller Road art project is still in the planning stages, but he expects to put out a call to artists before the end of the year. He said the artwork is dependent on what City Council decides.


Three locations have been considered for artwork at the proposed Fuller Road parking structure site: 1) within the landscape to the north of the easternmost entrance on the north facade, 2) the area above the easternmost entrance, and 3) six glazed openings of the easternmost entrance.

Courtesy of City of Ann Arbor

"It's still being developed, so we're talking about where public art would go in the space," Seagraves said. "The space is basically where the area for bicycles will be in a little plaza in front of there. There's glass that could be used as a potential art piece in front of the plaza, the plaza itself, and then above the entryway."

Fuller Road Station is a partnership between the University of Michigan and the city that calls for an intermodal transportation facility centered around a new train and bus station. A dominant element of the first phase is a large parking structure in front of the U-M medical campus, and that's where city officials want to see public art.

The task force is recommending $20,000 be set aside for project management, another $25,000 in contingency, and $5,000 for stipends for up to five final artist candidates. That leaves a total of $200,000 available to the selected artist to complete the installation.

The city pays for public art through its 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 a limit of $250,000 per project — is set aside in a special public art fund.

According to a budget summary from July, the city's public art fund had more than $1.8 million available for public art in the city.

Mayor John Hieftje, one of the leading supporters of the Fuller Road Station project, recently stated publicly that he was concerned there isn't more public art in the city.

The city's spending on public art when it's making deep cuts to public safety has angered some residents. But Hieftje argues the city's public art money is set aside in its own fund that legally can't be tapped to pay for general fund items like police and fire services.

Marsha Chamberlin, chair of the Public Art Commission, announced at Wednesday's meeting a public dedication ceremony is being planned for another large public artwork being installed in front of city hall within the next month. The piece was designed by German artist Herbert Dreiseitl, who is expected to be in Ann Arbor from Sept. 25 through Oct. 5.

Chamberlin said it's her understanding from talking to Ken Clein of Quinn Evans Architects that the art installation should be substantially complete at that point. She said Dreiseitl is expected to be in Ann Arbor at that time to do final testing on the lighting.

About $770,000 in public art funding is earmarked for the project, according to a report handed out Wednesday. The metal and glass sculpture is integrated with a water system.

Dreiseitl sculpture, south, 72.jpg

An artist rendering of the water-based sculpture soon to be installed in front of Ann Arbor's city hall.

Courtesy of City of Ann Arbor

The piece is expected to start close to Huron Street and follow the west edge of a new rain garden toward the main entrance of the Ann Arbor Municipal Center, which includes city hall and the new Justice Center building. The focal point of the piece is a standing bronze sculpture with blue glass pearls that light up in computerized variations as stormwater from the Municipal Center building circulates over the sculpture's surface.

Commissioners noted the sculpture will be complete in time for this year's Art Walk, which takes place Oct. 21-23 in Ann Arbor.

Commissioners are still finalizing plans for the upcoming dedication, but they generally agreed a date in early October while Dreiseitl is in town would work best.

In light of his concerns about the city's public art program, Hieftje earlier this month nominated Council Member Tony Derezinski to join the Public Art Commission.

At his first meeting on Wednesday, Derezinski told his new peers that he has fought twice on council to protect funding for public art when it was under attack in budget talks.

"The arts are such an important component in Ann Arbor and we have to preserve that," Derezinski told fellow commissioners.

In other action Wednesday, the Public Art Commission voted to accept the recommendations of its mural task force regarding a donation from the Richard P. Walker Charitable Fund. The commission plans to put $7,200 of the donation toward a mural at Allmendinger Park.

Along with another $5,000 in pooled public art funds, the commission now has set aside $12,200 for the mural project at the park.

Seagraves said he's working with, an online gallery of artworks, to include Ann Arbor's public art collection in an interactive database. He said he now has a spreadsheet of all the public art pieces in the city's possession, including everything from paintings hanging on the walls of city hall to outdoor installations in public places.

Commissioner Margaret Parker reported that she recently met with city park officials and discussed options for public art at the Gallup Canoe Livery and near the Argo Dam headrace, two spots along the Huron River where the city has capital projects planned.

Parker said park officials suggested three options at Gallup. The first would be a wall that combines art with the names of park donors on the north side of the livery. She said it could have a river theme and noted animal sculpture already is part of the building and playground.

Another potential location for public art at Gallup, Parker said, would be directly across the river from the livery where there is a bridge connecting two small islands. A third possible location, she said, would be the walkway leading from a set of new docks to the livery.

As for public art options at Argo, Parker said a public area with an amphitheater is being planned at the Broadway end of the Argo headrace, which is being reconstructed. She said park officials suggested that could be a good location for a public art installation.

Other options, Parker said, include a wayfinding system along the walking path on Argo's earthen embankment featuring the history of the area. She said a longer "River Art Walk" following the Huron River through the city also has been discussed.

The city also announced recently it is seeking an artist to create a piece of public art — or multiple artworks — for the lobby of the new Justice Center building. The city has set a $150,000 budget for the project to cover design, lighting, artist travel, fabrication, transportation, insurance and any subcontractor expenses and installation.

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 e-mail newsletters.



Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 8:33 p.m.

Hey, instead of a Public Art Commission, how about a police and fire commission to see how we can get more police officers to protect the streets and more firefighters to respond to all the medical and fire calls? I am appalled at the arrogance of the city counsel that they think art is more important than public safety. That $250,000 could have been used to pay for maybe three police officers for three years. Just disgusting what city counsel does with our money. I agree with "yohan" and I one last word, RECALL


Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 4:30 p.m.

Here are the real issues. With the economy as it is, and the layoffs at hand with Public services, it simply is not a good time to allocate what appears to most people as frivolous spending with the art budget. This simply needs to wait until the economy is better. If not, then the City Council appears to spend unwisely. The fact that they don't recognize this means that they do not have their priorities set correctly. We have real issues that we need money diverted from in order to cover those issues: - Fire and police staff being at dangerously low levels - Over compensated city administration staff (e.g., the pensions) - Halting the collection of Christmas trees; Real discussion of moving to a 2-week garbage cycle These real issues need attention, and instead we see how the City Council is wasting its time with pedestrian crosswalk ordinances, idling your car ordinances, pestering U-M about football game expenses, etc. And yes, the pedestrian ordinance will cause traffic accidents - instead use push signal devices like you installed on Huron Street by the YMCA. And yes, U-M brings in tons of students, staff, and faculty who pay property taxes and go out to eat at restaurants which in turn fuel Ann Arbor's economy and government. They say that the art and other funds are in different budget pools and cannot be touched. True, but the voters can put a ballot entry in to reallocate the money. Perhaps a temporary reallocation of the art budget towards operations would get approved by voters. Also, let's have a ballot issue to dissolve the Greenbelt Initiative back in order to free up the millions of dollars that could be better spent. Let's take care of the basics of what a city government should provide. Any City Council that does not respect that needs to be replaced.


Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 3 p.m.

I can't find the article in today's paper on the web, but I love the fact (capital letters are only for emphasis) that the POTENTIAL for art on the FUTURE site of what officials HOPE WILL BE a new transit center ..... How much money does AA spend on art that probably most people don't notice?

Carissa Welton

Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 5:37 p.m.

One reason why this article is attracting so much criticism is because it fails to remind its readers that "the money can't, by law, be recommitted to the general fund, can't be used to keep a single policeman or firefighter on the streets." Public art is a for all Ann Arbor residents and visitors to enjoy. According to A2's 1 percent policy, this is a benefit for the entire community that comes out of the building project budget, which in this case is funded through the university. Unlike other cities in the US, we have a cap on our public art commissions of $400,000. Art is not simply a symbol of prosperity. And art that's shared with the public can in fact be a vehicle for inspiration and lead to a flourishing society, both culturally and economically. It's truly a privilege to live in Ann Arbor, and I attribute much of this to civic patronage of the arts and continuously fueling innovation and intellect. Just look how much dialogue the Arts Commission has sparked here! It's great to read through all of the suggestions on interactive artwork suggestions and calls for involving/supporting local artists. But public engagement would be even better. I'd love to see an artwork that's not only created for the people but by the people - even from its smallest details.

Carissa Welton

Sat, Aug 27, 2011 : 7:42 p.m.

I agree that public safety is a top priority, and I'm actually not in favor of police and fire department budget cuts. Fortunately the crime/disaster rate hasn't increased since the recent layoffs, but I understand that the city's in a more vulnerable position. My point is that I'm in favor of public art. Granted I might be a minority opinion, but I'm relieved to see this law was written. In summary, any new development must include art in its construction. As a resident, I appreciate the built-in livability factor here. If there's any reallocating of budgets, I think it makes more sense to postpone the entire development project rather than repeal the 1 percent law. I do agree that this small amount of the construction cost is a fair price to pay for the cultural enrichment of our town.


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 5:45 p.m.

@Carissa it sounds as though you are under the influence of the mayor and city council. The art fund was created by the city council and therfore it can be changed by the city council. The mayor uses the "law" as an excuse to continue to ignore the public. While I agree that art can be inspirational, such expenditures must come after basic public needs such as roads, sidewalks and public safety have been adequately funded.


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 4:32 p.m.

The mayor and city council continue to ignore the taxpayers and residents. The city council and commissions spend hours wasting time and tax payer money developing their own plans only to have the state or a court come in and make their action irrelevant. Does the major need public art in order to leave a legacy in Ann Arbor? Don't the crumbling roads and sidewalks speak even louder regarding his legacy in Ann Arbor? Ann Arbor can no longer afford to have a city govenment focused on the wishes of a few. Sweeping changes need to take place in November to replace all existing council members and bring in individuals to focus on stopping the downward spiral Ann Arbor has taken under the currently administration. Recall the mayor and then put the petitions on display at the new city hall as public art. It is time for a change in Ann Arbor.

J Shaker

Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 3:39 a.m.

art all over town! and i sure do hope they commission local artists to do the work.

George Gaston

Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 3:26 a.m.

This article is a prime example as to how this proposed university parking structure, built on a city park, has been persented to the public. I have been a witness to this proposed project for a long time now. The first meeting that I went to, we were presented with the same drawings that are presented again here now, and the same discussions about civic art were presented then. We were given the the opportunity, not to speak, but to write down comments that those controlling the meeting might choose to read and comment on. It was a dog and pony show then and it remains a dog and pony show now. A great deal of city money has already been spent on this project. Many of our elected officials on council derive their incomes from the university. The university gets ideally located city park land to build on, the city loses what little income it derived from what was a "temporary" agreement with the university while the Cancer Center was being built. The university gets a parking deck and the city loses a park and gets a lot of debt. For more information, please go to the website:

Charley Sullivan

Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 2:48 a.m.

I hereby declare firefighting performance art, and allow the city council to use the $250K to fund on-going daily performances of two firefighter-artists for a period of two years. Ann Arbor needs to get real. It is absolutely unconscionable that we spend that type of public money for what will be, if it follows any of the previous public art in the city, a monstrosity, when we're cutting basic public services. If the law won't allow for it, change it.

Urban Sombrero

Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 1:44 a.m.

Given the mayor's predilection for art, I have no choice but to think this entire saga is just one gigantic performance art piece. It's so absurd! Tone deaf does not even begin to describe the mayor and council here. I do hope, however, since we all know this will happen that they buy art from local artists. Support the local economy!

David Paris

Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 1:20 a.m.

With a parking structure that was designed to blend so well with the spartan (no pun intended) University Hospital in the background, I'd say that this is one time that the art is highly justified!


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 11:21 p.m.

Put the parking structure on the land owned by the U of M that is east of the city park on Fuller. Plenty of room for expansion on these large fields!

Bertha Venation

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 7:26 p.m.

hmmm... when is the next city election?

Kai Petainen

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 10:14 p.m.

i'm sarcastic... based on how few came to the last election, is there a use in having an election?


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 5:59 p.m.

I look at this issue of public art on a broader scale: there IS political motivation involved but I think it's the intentional result of this idea that we "must somehow" expect less from all levels of government. Simple minded ignorance based on a single absurd extreme. "Less government..." is "always good and always the goal" - that's what's going on all over the country. "But we're in a recession" goes the next argument. Well - who let this recession (now in its 3rd year) happen by applying another whacko principle? (that's "deregulate at all costs, at every opportunity" - just part of the "less government" mantra). I grew up in a town that had no public art, not much of anything in the way of culture, in fact. That was one reason I moved to Ann Arbor. It was the first mid-sized town I'd seen with an IDENTITY. If not for the oversight and care of our city officials, Ann Arbor would soon become part of the Checkerboard-urbia that blankets most of S.E. Michigan. Professionals and business people come flocking to Ann Arbor because of its stand-out identity more than for "any place will do." "But I don't like the art chosen" is yet another argument. Well - I don't like all art, either. The city officials ought to be conducting polls (easy as pie at little cost on the Web) giving us a choice from several artists - on all public art projects. That's all that's needed, not throwing the baby out with the bath water. (Yet another "habit' of extreme political ideologues.)


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 5:23 p.m.

It is indeed sad to me to hear public art being so reviled in this way. I understand what everyone is saying here. I do. Laying off police and firemen is the wrong thing to do at any time. I understand about everyone's concern for fiscal responsibility. But, as an artist, I have to eat as well. These installations, if they are to be constructed should come from local artists only. I have an agent who sells my drawings in paintings in New York, Chicago, and other large cities who appreciate art. Art is not appreciated in Ann Arbor, except for the kitschy pieces at the the local art fairs. There is a reason I chose to obtain my degree at Indiana University/Bloomington. Art simply is not appreciated in this area. Okay, everyone! Go after me.


Tue, Aug 30, 2011 : 10:53 p.m.

@cynic. Well, dear. The beauty of my situation is that I can sell my work to big city galleries where it is appreciated, and STILL live in this lovely mid-western town filled with what you would call country bumpkins. FYI...Most artists are represented by least the successful ones. It is quite worth it to have someone else do the legwork and arrange for openings and exhibits, while I am left with plenty of time to paint, ride my horse, walk my dog, and enjoy my "bumpkin" friends. So. Ya' see. I've got the best of both worlds, and when I need to attend one of my openings in another city I get a tax write-off AND the opportunity to see amazing art installations in Chicago, New York, Seattle, Portland, Indianapolis...and Bloomington, IN, home of my alma mater Indiana University. Bloomington has always been known as one of the poorest towns in America, and YET, the public art at IU and off-campus is just amazing.


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 1:30 a.m.

Well, since all of us midwestern bumpkins don't appreciate all this wonderful "art", I would encourage you to move to New York, or wherever they do appreciate squandering tax dollars, and sell it to all those rich banksters who have been robbing the rest of us blind for decades! You could eliminate the agent and enhance your profit margin to boot! Don't let the door hit ya' where the good lord split ya'!!


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 12:17 a.m.

I'm pretty sure that at least 1% of taxpayers in Ann Arbor, actually DO appreciate art. Mind you, that is a very tiny minority, and I would love for that percentage to be higher, as it is in other areas.

Boo Radley

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 11:09 p.m.

No reason to go after you ... you just made the point. City taxpayers should have a voice in how public funds are spent. If art simply is not appreciated in this area, then 1 percent of the city's funds should probably not be set aside for it.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 4:19 p.m.

Public art is a GREAT thing. But let's hope it's actual art instead of simply the word "art" carved out of metal and put around town as bike racks.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 4:17 p.m.

Not having a daily, printed newspaper, that shines light on this city government run amok is not helping the situation. The city needs a real paper. The city government needs to be boldly and loudly called out for the insanity of spending on public art whilst cutting fire and police. People of Ann Arbor spread the word about this make certain everyone knows this is just crazy!


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 4:05 p.m.

Tell the mayor and council that they should change the law to eliminate the &quot;art bucket&quot; and reallocate that money to the general fund or something that makes more sense. E-mail them TODAY with that message. Go to this page <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> and scroll down to the bottom to the link that says &quot;To e-mail Mayor and all members of council, use this link&quot; and send them all an e-mail TODAY.

Ron Granger

Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 12:32 a.m.

I love that Ann Arbor sets aside funding for art.. But it should be good art, and not art that is intended solely for government buildings, or U of M parking garages on our park lands. You want to reallocate that money to the general fund? You'll never notice it. You'll never see any difference. There will be no visible benefit. Maybe some potholes will be filled, or the new city hall will get Apple iPad's to loan to visiting dignitaries and their families, consultants for the DDA, or Aeron chairs. But good art is forever. It's one of the things that makes us different from Livonia, Canton, Benton Harbor, etc.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 3:53 p.m.

Quote regarding Art Location #1: &quot;The space is basically where the area for bicycles will be in a little plaza in front of there&quot; The proponents of this plan need to understand that perons riding bicycles take them directly to their destinations and park them there, not at a &quot;Transit Center&quot;, where they then transfer to a bus or a train or something. That IS the beauty of riding a bicycle - you don't need a parking space or a transit center. Even if this were to be used somehow by bike commuters, don't they deserve covered bike parking at least? That the planners accept that these bikes should be left in the rain by commuters is condecending. I beieve there is a city law requiring covered bike parking for new developments in A2. Of course that doesn't apply on univerisity property, which is what this effectively is. This project is a university hospital parking structure paid for by city taxpayers, dressed-up as a &quot;Transit Center&quot;.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 3:52 p.m.

Rapist caught yet? Arson fires from a year ago solved?

Blue Eyes

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 3:29 p.m.

Sure, why not. Between unneeded public art and proposed tax increases for AATA, more and more of us are moving out of the city and the county to places that understand reality. Pretty soon there won't be anyone left to pay these ridiculous taxes for a city with no fire or police services and roads that belong on the moon. Enjoy yourself Ann Arbor!

Catherine Bosma

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 3:16 p.m.

I'm all for public art. I love all the art that towns like Seattle, Grand Rapids, Austin and Chicago have throughout their cities. It makes a city more interesting and individual, in my opinion. In better times I would be all for using taxpayer money to fund some public art. I do wish corporations would step up and support some of these efforts, however. And in these tough times, maybe there should be an easy way to reallocate that Percent for Art program to Percent for Potholes or other such necessary services.

Ron Granger

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 2:32 p.m.

Isn't this parking structure 78% for the University? So why are taxpayers buying art for the University? Why isn't the University funding the art for their parking structure in our park?


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 3:02 p.m.

Are you sure they're not? The University is paying is 70%+ of the construction project, the public art funding is taking off the top as a miniscule % of all construction projects (including this one).

Rita Mitchell

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 1:36 p.m.

For solid background on the proposed Fuller Road Station, go to: It's a parking structure.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 1:08 p.m.

What a waste and a joke. I still think the &quot;water-based sculpture&quot; looks like a memorial to the dead!


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 1:05 p.m.

From the April 12th article on Mayor John Hieftje said the administrator's budget proposal is about what he expected, and the city's budget woes are similar to those playing out in cities all across Michigan. <a href=""></a> I can tell you that in my city, the budget woes that are playing out have nothing to do with how to spend hundred's of thousands on public art installaitons. We're trying to keep the street lights on! Budget woes my friends are really in the eye of the beholder.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 1:02 p.m.

Jeez Stanton, you're just fueling these grousers with your headline. Grousers who have figured out that if they get up at 6 am and read today's articles and comment promptly without too much thought, their comments will be the &quot;most popular&quot; comments because readers can vote for them without having to consider other viewpoints down the list! You put that headline in knowing it would stir people up about fire and police but knowing that beautification funds can't be diverted to city services, and you probably knew that people would grouse anyway. Making this town look AWESOME is important.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 2:11 p.m.

&quot;Grousers who have figured out that if they get up at 6 am...&quot; Of course the people in favor of wasting this money don't get up until 9:02. There has to be a lesson in there someplace....

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 1:11 p.m.

Thank you, Mr. Mayor.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 1:01 p.m.

Council members and mayor, I say to a vote and reallocate these funds to fund the AATA expansion--then you will not have to ask taxpayers for an increase in taxes to do so. Better yet, take these funds and put it toward upkeep within the city, i.e. AAFD, AAPD, streets, sidewalks, etc.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:56 p.m.

Well, isn't THAT wonderful. Another head up the patooy idea.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:51 p.m.

And Nero fiddled as Rome burned. Get it?

Kai Petainen

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:47 p.m.

i'm confused. CS Mott just announced that they have $1.8 million of public art. (was that on <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> And that's being built near this lot, and presumably this lot would help service them? So shouldn't the art for the fuller lot be from donations as well? Or from some portion of CS Mott's public art?

Kai Petainen

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 4:01 p.m.

yup, the art was from donations. ann arbor actually has a lot of public art. walk through the schools and you'll see a lot of art. it's rather... cool and nice. speaking of CS Mott, here's a double-bolt of lightning near Mott last night <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 3:05 p.m.

Just so we're clear large scale donors paid for the art at Mott (or donated it directly) it's not related to a2 public art funding. Although I think getting Mott, or other museums or artists to voluntarily loan art to city places is a wonderful idea. Then again perhaps something more permanent (and durable) might be more appropriate at the transit center.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:47 p.m.

Let them eat cake!!

Rose Garden

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:43 p.m.

I have a great appreciation for art. I am happy to see attractive landscaping and outdoor art as I move about Ann Arbor. We voted for 1% of the budget to be used for artworks. The mayor did not choose to buy a $250,000 piece of art over paying the salaries for perhaps four police officers for a year. I did not vote for him or my current councilman, but I think the criticism is unfair. I would, however, like for the artwork to come from Michigan artists.


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 1:47 a.m.

&quot;We&quot; voted for no such thing! Those creeps in Hieftje Hall voted for it over the protestations of the many on every available news blog in town. Many voters were blind-sided by the mayor's profligacy over the past few years, as he was not so predisposed when first elected. Thankfully, there is now a critical mass of political opposition in the process of gelling - and when that opposition finds a credible candidate, the Hieftje and his fellow travelers will be toast.

Mr Blue

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 1:02 p.m.

The mayor did not choose to the art, he proposed and voted for a &quot;law&quot; that prevents tax dollars from being spent on necessary public service like police and fire instead He can undo the law if he sees fit, but obviously he does not.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:36 p.m.

Isn't the budget for the city hall project $70,000 rather than the $770,000 mentioned in the article? I can't wait to see the finished work. In addition to my own interest and excitement about it, I will be happy to add another highlight to tours of Ann Arbor that I often provide (as a real estate agent for potential new hires at the university and other employers). Beautifying our city is a way we show ourselves and the world who we are and what we value. I recently visited two small Canadian cities that are known for their public art and public landscaping and flowers. Niagra on the Lake and Stratford have both done such a good job beautifying their cities that I (and thousands of others) go there regularly and circulate a few hundred dollars into their economies just for the pleasure of enjoying the ambiance.

Marilyn Wilkie

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 4:39 p.m.

You are living in LaLa land if you don't get what these posters are saying.

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:34 p.m.

The city and the AAPAC have shown us they cannot be trusted to use the money wisely. Get rid of them and put some responsible adults in charge. We also need to place restrictions on the money being spent to on local, or at least regional, artists. I would also like to see some stipulations on how the artwork is created. This Dreiseitl guy isn't even building the urinal himself, he's hiring other people to build it for him. For that kind of money (which is way too much) I expect the artist to actually build it. I mean, if you want to produce art made from metal, learn how to weld. Oh yeah, I almost forgot... this so-called mayor needs to go. Big time. Good Night and Good Grief

Mr Blue

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:31 p.m.

We don't know it yet, but the Fuller Park Parking structure for the UM hospital has been a done deal for many months. It's the same strategy for the Justice Center with the German Urinal and the Library Lot with the Conference Center. Wham! Bam! and it's a done deal before anyone can object. And when people object and ask for more discussion and facts our leaders are suddenly deaf, dumb and blind to discussion and facts. Do forget the Conference Center issue is not dead, it's just waiting to happen while our backs are turned. Hey John, We're getting tired of having stuff rammed down our throats!!!


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:52 p.m.

&quot;Hey John, We're getting tired of having stuff rammed down our throats!!!&quot; It felt a little lower to me.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:30 p.m.

You'd think if our mayor had a CLUE he would listen to his constituency and perhaps chill on the art spending during all the cuts to public safety. But no, his smug arrogance won't let him. &quot;We can't afford basic maintenance on our house, but we've got all this money set aside for lavish dinners, so we'll continue to eat filet mignon and lobster.&quot; The people have spoken and continue to speak; if it's &quot;illegal&quot; to use this money for anything other than art, then change the darn law. (&quot;darn&quot; is not the first word I'd choose to use though.) If I hear one more story about art spending while basic city services suffer, I'm going to pull my hair out. Perhaps I should invest in a wig right away...


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:22 p.m.

So they wish to spruce up how things look. Maybe that money should be used for police services. Get rid of all the crime and panhandlers and maybe, just maybe things will look nicer.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 1:04 p.m.

Get rid of all the FREE stuff for the homeless, etc..Why should WE THE PEOPLE have to support them? I'm getting tired of working for all of these blood suckers.

Wolf's Bane

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:14 p.m.

The artist rendering of the water-based sculpture soon to be installed in front of Ann Arbor's city hall is really too bad. In addition to looking quite phallic, it appears to be easily tampered with and will not survive in tact for long given all of the local pranksters in town.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:31 p.m.

Perhaps it's a monument to something...


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:14 p.m.

I think too many of the commenters have lost perspective. Art is forever. It will be Mayor Heiftje's legacy. Temporary cutbacks to safety services are required to maintain a healthy investment in the arts. Very few people are lost or hurt in fires. Only a small fraction of people are crime victims. Everyone enjoys art. That's why I no longer frequent Ann Arbor.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:56 p.m.

The safety of the people must and should come first, what good is having tons of art if individuals do not feel comfortable coming to town to view it -- have you not been reading the news lately re: assaults on campus. I love, and we are already so fortunate for all of the many art galleries, etc. we have --


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:29 p.m.

Mayor Heiftje's legacy is that Ugly piece of &quot;Art&quot; sitting in front of City Hall. According to the article: &quot;Fuller Road Station is a partnership between the University of Michigan and the city&quot;. Let UM pay for the Art.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:12 p.m.

We have the government we deserve; we voted for these people. There is an election on November 8 that includes council seats for Wards 2, 3, and 5. Please get out and vote. If you want to be finished with this mayor, create a group to find a person to run against Hieftje, someone who understands the issues in Ann Arbor, is fiscally responsible, level headed, public spirited, and can work with &quot;local personalities.&quot; Since this is a one-party town, that person must be willing to run as a Democrat.

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 1:52 p.m.

And somebody who doesn't have the conflict of interest of also being a U of M employee and stooge.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:10 p.m.

You are so right hattrix. We have a wonderful art community, fabulous university art school, a huge art fair that draws hundred's of the best artists and a public school system that has remarkable art. Why do these have to be permanent displays by foreign artists? Are they at least from our sister cities? Why is the city buying art for UM property? We need a larger police force, potholes filled, traffic medians that need to be weeded and tended to along other issues that need attention before we spend money on art. Stroll thru St Joe's hospital, much of the artwork is by local artists and school children. Yohan, I'd sign your recall petition but so far no one has been able to beat him.

Homeland Conspiracy

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:09 p.m.

Ann arbor...Six Square Miles Surrounded by Reality

Elaine F. Owsley

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:09 p.m.

And how many police or firemen could the city have hired for this kind of money? Another &quot;public art&quot; investment and how does that make the city safer? Foolish to spend money on icing when you can't afford to bake a cake.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:08 p.m.

In these times it does look like a poor use of money, but it is the law. If the citizens don't like it they can petition the govt to redress the law. Every one that is complaining here had a chance to run for office or vote out those that support these projects. As these are mostly anonymous posters it is hard to tell, but I am thinking that not one of you bothered to run for council to roust the people you complain about daily.


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 4:15 p.m.

It's a &quot;law&quot; because the city council made it so, now they can change that law but the mayor wants to hide behind it. The mayor and city council seem to have no interest in what the residents of Ann Arbor want from their city. People would like descent roads, sidewalks, police and fire protection. This is not a time for more unnecessary public art.

Craig Lounsbury

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 10:32 p.m.

clownfish, I notice a pattern where you complain about complainers. I guess that makes you a 2nd tier complainer. And when anyone plays the &quot;anonymous posters&quot; card under a fake name it is a bit hypocritical.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 9:29 p.m.

It is a city thing voted in by the council without the citizens knowledge -- so again, I say they can vote it out.

Stephen Landes

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 1:44 p.m.

Unless I missed something from Lansing the fund is established by a local ordinance and not by a law. This is totally within the control of the City of Ann Arbor. The ordinance/fund can be changed by the Council and it should be so that it reflects public priorities: safety before art.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:08 p.m.

So out of touch with reality.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:07 p.m.

If the Fuller Road Station is not approved will the city be able to move that $250,000 from the Fuller Road Station art bucket into a different bucket?


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:06 p.m.

This is POLITICS and why our entire nation is going down in flames. ONLY IN POLITICS can you &quot;set aside&quot; money for absurd silliness while cutting funding for essential services. That's why governments are NOT like family household budgets. I set aside $1000 for a vacation to Disney Land and my roof blows off in a thunderstorm. OH BUT I can't TOUCH vacation money, because it's &quot;earmarked.&quot; So I go without the roof. RIGHT. The only answer is to VOTE THE RASCALS OUT and vote in people you can trust to change the system ... but you'll likely find more safeguards to maintain the status quo.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:11 p.m.

Your vacation money is not designated by LAW to be used for certain things. If the law said we HAD to use the money for fire dept and it was used for art then you would be outraged that the law is not being followed. Vote! Run for office. Be the change you want to see! Did you show up at the council meeting when this law was passed? Did you voice disapproval? Or, back when things were flush were you content to sit at home and watch the telly?


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:06 p.m.

Ann Arbor is the city of ART, Why do our TAX DOLLARS go for funding some out of state artist? Why not have a local artist do it for FREE and pay for the installation? This promotes the Artist, the city of ART and keep the money here! Instead, we have to fund some rich artist and then let the city council rub elbows with the artsy/fartsy people. Keep it LOCAL!


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 11:55 a.m.

Wow you have money for art but no money for the safety of the public - you tax the citizens so much they are leaving - you are laying off police/fire people right and left, people are desparate and losing their jobs, homes and their health insurance and you still want to spend the money on art. Only in Ann Arbor!


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 2:46 a.m.

Yes I do.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:52 p.m.

Again. the city established it, they can undo the ordinance -- the citizens did not vote for this, and it is obvious that they are not pleased with the expenditure of the funds. Thanks clownfish for the information.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:05 p.m.

&quot;Only in Ann Arbor!&quot; No, not really.. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> The One Percent for Art Program builds upon an already strong foundation of renowned art in our community. Initiated by an ordinance passed by the City Council of Kansas City, Missouri, in 1986, the One Percent for Art Program has seen the installation of the Bartle Hall Sky Stations, Bull Wall at the American Royal, and Three Figures/Fifteen Elements at the Kansas City International Airport, as well as numerous other projects <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> &quot;Houston's percent for art ordinance was established 10 years ago, on Dec. 21, 1999,&quot;


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 11:47 a.m.

If we have money to be spent on public art, let's support Ann Arbor artists or Michigan artists. Do we really need to go all the way to Germany to find something to put in front of our city hall? Ridiculous! Buy Local.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 5:13 p.m.

By all means, if there is to be money spent on public, ONLY local area artists' works should be displayed!


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 1:58 p.m.

We can go to China for a granite statue.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:50 p.m.

I agree wholeheartedly -- and I totally disagree with council and mayor -- Ann Arbor has a great many galleries and tons of beautiful art. And, what is totally wrong with just admiring the beauty of nature -- trees, flowers, etc.

Steve Pepple

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 11:30 a.m.

A comment written almost entirely in all capital letters - the online equivalent of shouting - has been removed.

Jim Knight

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 2:07 p.m.

Comments about moderation policy should be directed here: <a href=""></a>


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 11:28 a.m.

To be a true representation that rendering should show the grass in the median a foot high with the sidewalks and street crumbling with the glistening public art in the background.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 2:10 p.m.

Ha-ha-ha! That's good and so true. It's completely absurd how the Council wants to spend all this money on public art in an attempt to make the city more attractive somehow to visitors and residents, and yet can't find enough money to keep our roads in even decent condition and our highly-visible public grass areas from becoming weed patches.

average joe

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 1:43 p.m.

And don't forget to include a police officer giving someone a ticket for excessive idling...


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 1:12 p.m.

You forgot to add the 50% weeds mingled in the grass.

Craig Lounsbury

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:13 p.m.

well played.

Craig Lounsbury

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 11:16 a.m.

&quot;Hieftje argues the city's public art money is set aside in its own fund that legally can't be tapped to pay for general fund items like police and fire services.&quot; &quot;The city pays for public art through..... an ordinance approved by the City Council in 2007&quot; Mr. Hieftie, I have lost any shred of respect I ever may have had for you. Stop hiding behind a law you and your puppet council made and CHANGE THE LAW!!!!!!!!


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 10:54 a.m.

1. I'm about as liberal as it gets and this is ridiculous. I want safety first not art. Change the funding. 2.) I haven't seen anything approved yet and there already earth movers on site. I could have missed the announcement, but I didn't think the controversy around turning a park into a parking lot had been resolved.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 3:08 p.m.

The construction going on the site is to do sewer and septic upgrades to the site and entire area, not to start buildling. That said they are doing sewer and corner upgrades under the assumption the station will be built (otherwise the work wouldn't be a priority).


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:46 p.m.

Perhaps it is time to be more open minded on these city issues. $250k is alot for AA.

Dug Song

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 10:35 a.m.

Leave a blank wall for street art: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Marilyn Wilkie

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 10:30 a.m.

&quot;Let them eat cake!&quot;

Marilyn Wilkie

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 4:33 p.m.

No big deal. By the way, I guess Marie Antoinette never said that. lol


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:48 p.m.

Sorry, I think I did a repeat on you. Great minds think alike.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 10:29 a.m.

This stupidity won't stop until Hieftje is gone. Recall anyone?

Mike K

Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 4:30 p.m.

One would think that some of what is written here would get back to council. We are their constituents. Maybe a direct approach is more appropriate? Maybe we have to e-mail them directly letting them know we find this to be unacceptable? As we talk about $250,000 for public art, I drive around town on streets with overgrown vegitation. Make them look nice, and I'll call it art everyone can appreciate.

Urban Sombrero

Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 1:50 a.m.

I could definitely get behind a movement like this, especially if you're being totally serious.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 3:28 p.m.

I would also be happy to help!


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 1:53 p.m.

I'm in too. Let's get the ball rolling.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:15 p.m.

I'm in!


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 11:19 a.m.

I would be happy to participate in a recall organization.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 10:27 a.m.

Isn't it interesting how Fuller Road Station has not been &quot;approved&quot; by Hieftje and council, yet plans are already being made for public art there?

Rita Mitchell

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 10:34 p.m.

For more information about a parking structure in a park, go to: It's a parking structure. It's proposed to be located in a park.

Alan Goldsmith

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 10:24 a.m.

&quot;Commissioner Margaret Parker reported that she recently met with city park officials and discussed options for public art at the Gallup Canoe Livery and near the Argo Dam headrace, two spots along the Huron River where the city has capital projects planned.&quot; So much for Ms. Parker, the woman who was the champion for the ugly Justice Building Urinal Fountain, leaving her position on the AAPAC. Just GO already!


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:47 p.m.

I say let the beauty of nature be the artwork for those who travel up and down the river -- it is absolutely beautimous -- does not need manmade items.

Alan Goldsmith

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 10:22 a.m.

Should local Ann Arbor artists brush up on their German language skills? &quot;The city's spending on public art when it's making deep cuts to public safety has angered some residents. But Hieftje argues the city's public art money is set aside in its own fund that legally can't be tapped to pay for general fund items like police and fire services.&quot; If there were ever any collected works for weasel political statements by clueless politicians, I'm thinking this would definitely make the cut. And of course, the Mayor's statement he was 'comfortable' with gutting the police and fire department.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 1:11 p.m.

I would venture to say that it is art when a fireman saves a life, when a policeman arrests a rapist. So pay them from the art fund.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:46 p.m.

Agree with Mr. Goldsmith -- and, there was a vote by council and mayor to put aside these funds for art, they can vote to remove the funds from being specifically for art, especially in these days when we need to have our AAFD and AAPD staff increased to insure the safety of the city.