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Posted on Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 5:50 a.m.

'Arbor Winds' design chosen for $360K public art project at Stadium bridges

By Ryan J. Stanton


Massachusetts-based artist Catherine Widgery proposes a concept titled "Arbor Winds" that's largely based on the tree as a symbol of Ann Arbor's identity.

Massachusetts-based artist Catherine Widgery has been selected to take on a $360,000 public art project at the site of the new Stadium bridges in Ann Arbor.

City officials said the artist's proposed concept — "Arbor Winds" — was supported by community feedback conducted by the Public Art Commission and the project selection panel.

Widgery's concept incorporates images of trees etched onto stone and glass panels. The images were taken from photos of trees in Ann Arbor along city streets and in Nichols Arboretum.


The glass etchings proposed by Widgery.

The stone etchings are expected to be mounted to the bridge underpass. The glass etchings will be included on a sculptural wind screen, or possibly on other sculptural, functional and design elements applied at the site, depending on the revisions to the current design, city officials said.

Aaron Seagraves, the city’s public art administrator, said the commission and selection panel plan to work with Widgery to refine the concept to a final design before it can be offered for final approval by the Public Art Commission and the City Council.

Widgery proposed having each tree panel lit at night by LED fixtures. Additionally, Widgery proposed a series of eight banners attached to the streetlight poles on the bridge itself — banners consisting of several 6-inch squares of etched acrylic held in aluminum frames welded together.

Funding for the project is coming from the city's pooled public art fund. The budget for the design, fabrication and installation is $360,000.

City officials said Widgery has a well-established record working on public art projects, having completed more than 30 works in public spaces, most recently in Toronto and Denver.

She has created several works with public infrastructure, including bridges, and has been recognized multiple times for creating an outstanding public artwork by the Americans for the Arts.

For more information on public art in Ann Arbor, visit

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.


Susanne Brace

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 5:32 p.m.

Why couldn't a local artist do this? Why didn't Ann push the story more when they were looking for artists to do this? Why weren't the public meetings talking about this advertised more? I know the art money is "different money" but why can't living trees be considered art? Why not take care of something that the town used to be known for?

A A Resident

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 4:27 p.m.

Let's buy some expensive art, and hide it under a bridge. Cool idea.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 4:01 p.m.

Why is U of M not paying for this or at least some of this? Has the city asked for help from U of M or would that conflict with the Mayor's job as a paid "lecturer" for the U? What a conflict. he needs to resign.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 3:42 p.m.

what a waste of money, when we have so many other needs for our town. Like our schools, roads, to name a few. On the other hand, look at Toronto, the art there is done by LOCAL artists. Why does Ann Arbor feel they should bring in foreign artists? EGO!

Ryan J. Stanton

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2:38 p.m.

FYI — there were 32 total submissions from artists, including 10 from Michigan artists


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2:44 p.m.

As I understand it, there was a prerequisite that artists have experience in large scale installations. At first blush, this seems like a very good idea. On reflection, I feel that is a bit lazy; I'd imagine that there are some good concepts which could be developed into reality by using some funds to enlist engineers or craftspeople. There is a "hurry" to fix infrastructure, but what is the hurry with art? If these were the best, I'd say......... (what does one say?)..... "Back to the drawing board."


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2:15 p.m.

Kind of sad really. Was the city obliged to go forward with one of the designs submitted? I find it somewhat (very) ironic that Ann Arbor has lost it's "Tree City U.S.A." Status due in part to Emerald Ash Borers> and in another public "art" project in West Park after the Black Willows were removed (unfortunately they had to be) the project was two skeletal palm looking "trees". Now the bridges will get skeletal etched ghost trees. Welcome to "Artificial Tree City U.S.A.". I hope that in future projects that the commission actually works WITH artitists in the DEVELOPMENT stages, in conjunction with architects and engineers, rather than tack on "art" as an afterthought. I would recommend (if possible) to put this project on hold and let us live with the bridge, which has a design (though not exciting in itself, nor blank enough to be a "canvas"), and see how it inspires, see how it functions, where people actually walk and how it looks in different seasons. Seriously, a friend/coworker noted that the concept panels look like they belong in a hotel lobby. Anyway, that was my 2¢ (probably more like 78¢)...and no, I would NOT propose fairy doors on the bridge. Though Clarence the Bridge Troll, I felt was appropriate for the OLD bridge. (whoops that was another 6¢)


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2:51 p.m.

BTW. I had put together a proposal for the West Park installation. Unfortunately, I saw the call for qualifications, rather late and had a full time job to attend to. Worse, I arrived 15 minutes late to city hall and was told that they would not accept any late submissions. Of course timeliness is a factor for bidding on any job, so that was that. As for the bridge project; I drive under it most every day, but the new bridge did not inspire me.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 3:05 a.m.

Hmmmm... more like Arbor Breaking Winds - those trees look asphyxiated.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 1:25 a.m.

Fix the dang roads instead!!! I was on Packard between Platt and Eisenhower and just about destroyed my car's suspension. Or what about Jackson rd? I could go on and on...

A A Resident

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 10:19 a.m.

A2cents, some of these sections are too rough for a "road bike". A "mountain bike" with a suspension does OK though.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 8:50 a.m.

The mayor, city council and other city leaders are ignoring you. They will do what they decide to do, not what you want.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2:21 a.m.

Live a little: pedal that stretch on a bicycle. (you might slow down a tad)


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 11:48 p.m.

I just hope the emerald concrete borer doesn't come along and in turn cause the city to implement a special project to quarantine infected public art - all on taxpayer funds.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 11:24 p.m.

I love the idea of fake trees as opposed to more attractive and less expensive actual trees. Genius.

Usual Suspect

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2:05 a.m.

Nicholas, do you have some need to have trees under an overpass?

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 11:38 p.m.

Do you have some magic trees that grow under overpasses?


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 11:10 p.m.

There was some reason School of Art students were not allowed to compete - can Mr. Stanton find out why? it didn't make sense to me

Usual Suspect

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2:06 a.m.

Because that's not how they do it in Boulder.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 11:07 p.m.

I agree a waste of money. I would like to see this project be required to use only local artists and keep the cost down to reasonable levels. Sometimes it is nice to see art around town but I am not impressed here, looks like dead trees.

Ryan J. Stanton

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 9:46 p.m.

In case anyone caught the news the other day that one of the artists competing for the Argo Cascades art project withdrew from the competition, I asked the city's art administrator why that was. Apparently it was due to a newly funded project elsewhere that wouldn't allow the artist to have time on his schedule to concentrate on all the projects he had committed to for the upcoming year.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 9:07 p.m.

Once again Ann Arbor fosters the hypocrisy of the MEDC. Think Michigan first. Buy Michigan. This is the same do as we say, but not as we do mentality has a negative impact on the community.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 8:27 p.m.

I couldn't think of a better way to spend the money............


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 8:52 p.m.

You may have a future on city council ...

Roger Kuhlman

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 8:12 p.m.

In a few days get ready to see selected quotes from this discussion appearing in the newspaper edition and I can guarantee they will be printing mostly positive comments about this project despite the fact most of the reaction here is negative. Just another example of the clear left-wing bias and agenda has. I would sure like to see some honest journalism about contentious issues sometimes.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 7:54 p.m.

Well, what is the standing of the public pension plan? Maybe it would be more finacially prudent to contribute this money to the pension plan to avoid a Detroit situation in Ann Arbor.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 7:06 p.m.

there are pretty long winters and many gray days in SE Mich...would have been nice to have color. What does one need to look at that for? -a reminder of what an average day in March looks like? Or recall the tree that lost some limbs when storms came through? This is pretty sad really, kind of spooky....and then the price tag...


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 7:15 p.m.

It's yucky.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 6:40 p.m.

I could get a little more excited about this project if the artist was local. With all the talent we have in Ann Arbor I find it difficult to believe a local artist wasn't being considered. What a disappointment.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 6:22 p.m.

Oh joy, 360 G's going down the sewer. At least it's not the giant toilet brush.

Ann Arbor Parents For Students

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 6:22 p.m.

For the $360,000 I bet you could reinstate fall leave collection or xmas tree pick-up. I think serving the community is lost. Let's say there are 50,000 Households in Ann Arbor, we all just paid $6 for public art. Great! Want my leaves and xmas tree picked up!

Ann Arbor Parents For Students

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 6:23 p.m.

leaf not leave

Daniel Piedra

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 5:02 p.m.

Not bad. Better than the others. $360k is a lot though. Maybe I should have gone into making public art. Take a piece of bent steel, let it rust, and attach to a concrete slab. Boom -- $200k grand in the bank.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 5:56 p.m.

You mean $750 grand? That's apparently the going rate here.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 4:46 p.m.

i love art and can even get into the weird stuff whole-heartedly, but these fake, dead trees will do nothing to help me cope with my SAD and just look straight-up stupeez. the only out-of-state artist i want to touch A2 is Banksy.

r treat

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 4:33 p.m.

I'm sure saes will love spray painting his name on the new tiles.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 4:32 p.m.

Rabble rabble rabble


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 5:57 p.m.

That's rubble rubble

John of Saline

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 5:50 p.m.

Look out for your hamburgers.

Tim Hornton

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 4:23 p.m.

This sounds a lot better then that naked family statue on UM med campus with a little boy's behind pulled up to the fathers private area. That piece of "art" is disgusting. I don't mind Greek Nudes but naked kids with naked adults is not good. It's basically child porn right on campus. Shame shame UM, your record lately with child porn isn't so great either.

Jaime Magiera

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 10:15 p.m.

Correct, which means civilization should be *more* advanced in terms of technology and design - and less likely to call statues of naked people "child porn".

Usual Suspect

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 9 p.m.

This might be a great topic for discussion on dorm radio.

Usual Suspect

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 8:58 p.m.

I strongly suggest you realize this isn't ancient Greece.

Jaime Magiera

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 7:36 p.m.

The best art bomb was when someone put green footprints from the "Spirit of Detroit" statue to the "Passo di Danza" statue in downtown Detroit.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 7:11 p.m.

That statue has been moved a few times due to similar reactions to it. I don't much care for it either, I actually like it better when people put clothes on them. Then it looks more like the ancient roman statutes, which were painted in lifelike colors. Art bombing tip: you get the clothes on them by cutting the clothes in half, then reassembling in place.

John of Saline

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 7:04 p.m.

Um, Greek art usually had some grace to it. My main contention is that the statue we're talking about is unbalanced, ugly, and graceless.

Jaime Magiera

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 6:34 p.m.

I strongly suggest neither of you look at the ancient art of Greece. You'll probably die of a heart attack.

Tim Hornton

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 5:55 p.m.

That statue is "Fundamental as you can get" to child porn in public and is offensive. Especially how the kid is being held up against his father with both being naked. Oh and I've been camping a lot and have never seen in public naked parents with there kids.. And if they were naked while taking a shower I'll bet you haver never seen a father holding a son of that age like that UM statue. That's when child protective services needs to get involved ASAP.

John of Saline

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 5:50 p.m.

That is a very ugly statue. The kid looks like a board or other inanimate object that's being held up. And the positioning IS bad (more than a few have noticed this). Absolutely no grace to it at all. It should be melted down and sold for the metal value.

Jaime Magiera

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 5:30 p.m.

Not really. You can go camping anywhere in the states and see parents and kids naked in the presence of others. Even so, again, art is supposed to depict fundamental aspects of existence. Some things that are "private" are depicted publicly in art. Otherwise, we'd never have depictions of anything other than what is already public and already seen. That would not inspire, challenge or resonate with many people.

Usual Suspect

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 5:06 p.m.

"Most children have been nude with their parents when growing up at some point." In private. Not on the street corner.

Jaime Magiera

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 4:51 p.m.

Most children have been nude with their parents when growing up at some point. The notion that it is child porn is ridiculous. Art is supposed to highlight fundamental aspects of existence. Being naked, old or young, is as fundamental as you can get.

Roger Kuhlman

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 4:04 p.m.

I am so angry that the City politicians are wasting my tax dollars on this kind of stuff! Ann Arbor is run for liberal special interest groups and that is corrupt.

Roger Kuhlman

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 4:19 a.m.

Solititude funding for Public art has not ended. It has just morphed rhethorically. Now Public Art must be 'baked in' city projects as Council Member Briere put it. That is a sham way of claiming that the Council respected the will of voters and really ended public funding of City Art. They did not! This approach has the added benefit of making it that much harder for Voters to determine how much money the City is spending on City Art projects in the future. Great, lack of accountability and a free rein to spend without effective controls is just what Democratic politicians desire.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2:17 a.m.

Oh that the uom cared enough to enhance that area instead of building right out to the sidewalks. Black iron fences with locked gates don't cut it either.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 10:53 p.m.

@Roger Kuhlman, no, they didn't. They have ended the program; this is money that was still in the fund from previously.

Roger Kuhlman

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 8:18 p.m.

Unfortunately there is no effective way to stop corruption in this town when it is run as a one-party state. We had an election in November when the voters voted down the public funding of city Art but the local pols found a sneaky and deceptive way to void that vote and continue pubic funding of city Art.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 4:10 p.m.

I hope complaining about it in a slightly read news blog gets you satisfaction. If you want change it takes more than that.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 4:02 p.m.

I think it looks very nice.

Linda Peck

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 3:58 p.m.

It is better than the other contenders but scraggly trees for that kind of money? :(


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 6:08 p.m.

The materials and installation are expensive.

The Eyes of Justice Team

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 3:43 p.m.

Complete waste....the Mayor needs to go back to doing Open Houses.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 3:28 p.m.

Massachusetts based artist. $360,000. Can't make this stuff up folks.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 3:17 p.m.

In other news, Jackson road continues to destroy vehicles.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 8:07 p.m.

Don't bring Jackson up....the real horror is yet to come on that least for commuters in cars and trucks trying to deliver into town.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 3:03 p.m.


Jack Gladney

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 2:56 p.m.

"Dead Trees Under the Bridge." Sounds like a great title for a piece at my next poetry slam.

John of Saline

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 3:26 p.m.

Or a Green Day cover band.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 2:48 p.m.

1. Waste of money 2. Waste of money 3. Fix the roads that are falling apart!!! 4. This town is filled with local art students!! Did I mention it's a total waste of money? This city has greater needs..


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 2:47 p.m.

It's beautiful, and appropriate to a small city such as ours. Good choice!


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 2:43 p.m.

Big fan of public art here. Love this and love art anywhere we can get it these days. I am not an artist myself but feel lucky to live in a city that values art like Ann Arbor. If you prefer a bland, boring community you have several, several options not far from here you could call home.

Roger Kuhlman

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 4:10 a.m.

Filling potholes is central city responsibility. Public Art is not by any stretch of the imaginination. Public Art paid by the Public in a time of tough economic conditions is a pure luxury. A2cents do you argue otherwise. I don't think most people would not agree with you. I am just pointing out what a small clique of politically favored people are doing to help themselves at the expense of most other people in the community including those who really can not afford the very high property taxes Ann Arbor levies on its residents..


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2:13 a.m.

Roger: & you can fund all the services you want and care about. Grab a shovel and some cold patch and step up to some potholes, maybe?

Roger Kuhlman

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 4:08 p.m.

How about you and your friends funding the public art instead of forcing all Ann Arbor taxpayers to cover the bill. Why should we all be paying for your desires and wants?


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 2:36 p.m.

While the price seems high to me, I have no problem with this artist's work. That said, I'd love to see similiar bridges or public art spaces approached differently in the future. How about making a system to mount tiles or panels like these but make them removable (by the city with special tools or key, not easily stolen) and then having an annual contest in which local artists (including HS and college students) submit drawings. The winner(s) would have their design created (enamel on metal or perhaps CNC-routed into metal or plastic) and displayed for a year. I imagine that a program like this might be possible for $10 thousand per year so even a permanent endowment would cost less than this project cost for a one-time design.

craig stolefield

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 2:20 p.m.

Mr. Stanton has written about it several times in the past but the same myth keeps getting regurgitated here every time the art program comes up. NONE of the money dedicated to art can be spent on salaries for police officers or fire fighters and it never could have. There are accounting rules governments have to follow. You might want to protest them not spending it on a road or sewer line but it would be illegal for them to spend it in the general fund. That said, I am not too fond of the projects that have been chosen so far by our fellow citizens but I have to admit, I did not go to any of the viewings or submit an opinion. I am however happy the city has an art program and it is still going. These things have a tendency to "grow" on you after they have been there a few years.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 2:16 p.m.

Hmm, let's see, three or 4 police officer position or another public art project. This is not sound thinking.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 2:14 p.m.

i just threw up a little, 360K thats just wrong


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 2:08 p.m.

If you want a reasonable change in City Council, 4th ward residents should vote TODAY! TUESDAY.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 2:04 p.m.

They should spend the money to resurface Stadium Blvd from Main St up to the new's terrible!


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2:09 a.m.

Fix and expand bike lanes... cagers will survive & multiply under any condition. That stretch of road might be considered a payback to the uom for their niggardly contribution to the bridge project.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 1:59 p.m.

Thumbs down. They seem to be distracting. As a driver, I wouldn't want to take glance at these types of distractions while passing under the bridges.

Usual Suspect

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 1:51 p.m.

There is absolutely no need for art at this location.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 1:44 p.m.

This was by far the least ugly of the proposed projects ... but that's not saying much. $360,000? That's about ten times what it SHOULD cost.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 1:38 p.m.

To suggest that this was supported by community feedback is a stretch. The number one thing communicated was "we don't like any of these". And the number two thing was, " if I was forced to pick one of these four, the least offensive one is the one with the trees". Take a look at the previous article that ontroduced these ideas with the poll and comments. But this opinion of the project was not just found on these forums, which tends to the negative. This was what I have heard from every single person I asked about this project and showed the selections to, and from people who were commenting at the table the AAPAC had set up at the green fair, and from people who were commenting at the townie fair. Had enough? Contact your representatives in city council and urge them to vote no on funding this project.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 1:43 p.m.

Sorry that comment was riddled with typos, the page crashed before I had a chance to edit, and it posted anyway!?


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 1:37 p.m.

The submittal's were very poor. The Committee should have made an effort to find MI artists. If that means paying a little bit for proposals, then fine, take it out of the total cost of the project. When you ask people to spend a lot of time putting together a proposal for free you are going to get a small number of applicants and likely art like this, not great art at all.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 1:24 p.m.

uh.....the trees are dead under the fitting for this time in AnnArbor's "Tree Town" history. Hey Ann Arbor! Look at the state of your infrastructure instead of art from out-of-town. The art doesn't make it any better.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 1:21 p.m.

so... rather than pay for 4 police officers for a year (or one new officer for 4 years) "we" are buying art rather than having a competition among local artists many of whom would gladly donate art of this size and quality for either a tax break or for the national exposure it would give them. I am really glad that our city council continues to spend money "wisely".


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 10:47 p.m.

Why didn't any of these many local artists make submissions?

Dr. I. Emsayin

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 1:14 p.m.

When the city goes broke, we can sell the bridge and the metal tree in West Park (like Detroit threatens to sell its art).

Jaime Magiera

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 5:24 p.m.

Detroit is not threatening to sell its art. The Emergency Manager, appointed by our inept Governor, is threatening to sell Detroit's art.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 1:07 p.m.

Fake trees. YUK! Why does A2 have a thing about NOT using local artists, contractors, etc? U of M hospital used Texas architectural firm, other 'art' pieces done by those out of state. Let's prioritize. Fix the roads to impress visitors, not put up fake art! What a waste of money!!!


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2:02 a.m.

attend one of many meetings on subject? (not)


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 1:07 p.m.

Difficult to look at art along the road when me and my car are being shaken by potholes and bumps. Hard enough to keep the huge bumps like the ones at Eastbound Huron and First Street from pushing my car into another lane.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2:01 a.m.

Long way from huron & 1st, methinks and Sate smooth (only) here. Consider: cagers waiting for trains, peds & cyclists etc.

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 1:03 p.m.

I thought all of the presented pieces for this location were weak. I would vote to gift it more time, for more submissions. The area under the underpass will be dark most all the time, so the ability to see the art will be limited. It needs some decoration, though I'm not sure this is it. Especially at the cost. An the risk of tagging.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 1:02 p.m.

I think it would be great if these panels can protect pedestrians from passing traffic; the sidewalks on the bridge are narrow.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 1:57 a.m.

Wider & you'd complain about the cost thereof... they're fine. Remember to deflect the whizzing cycles into the bike lane where they belong.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 12:55 p.m.

This is interesting. What I don't understand is that after a year of building the bridge and repairing E. Stadium, the road in front of Crisler and the Big House on Stadium is riddled with pot holes. Whose responsibility is this? Keeping the roads up should be a priority. It's less glamorous but necessary.

Thomas Jones

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 12:49 p.m.



Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 12:40 p.m.

About the "constant reminder of winter", have you ever noticed that with trees leafing in May, and the leaves falling in October, bare branches are roughly the "norm", or at least 6 months a year? Last "season" we had so many lovely days of turquoise skies as a great backdrop for the silhouettes of trees. Quite lovely in its own way. That said, I can think of better uses for the money.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 12:31 p.m.

they can't be serious can they? why not use the money to re-pave the road between the bridge and main st.? its in terrible shape and with the start of the football season starting in a few weeks it will only get worse !!


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 1:54 a.m.

Helps reduce speed, nothing else works.

Floyd R. Turbo

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 3:07 p.m.

phillycheesesteak and murphthesurf nailed it! That 3/4 of a mile stretch from Main to the bridge is horrible, and our streets reflect what type of nuts we have in local office and their gross mismanagement of tax dollars !


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 2:18 p.m.

The condition of our streets is an embarrassment. How can we be a "cool city" with Third World Roads?

Howard Beale

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 12:25 p.m.

The City of Ann Arbor...27.7-square miles surrounded by reality.

Roger Kuhlman

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 4:14 p.m.

May not be new but unfortunately it is true.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 2:08 p.m.

Wow, I hadn't heard that one before. /s

A A Resident

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 12:21 p.m.

"City officials said the artist's proposed concept — "Arbor Winds" — was supported by community feedback conducted by the Public Art Commission" __________________________ Hmm, I wonder what they're using as their source of "community feedback"? It's certainly not this forum! Someone needs to attend their next meeting, which is open to the public, and read this entire thread to them. If no one else volunteers, maybe I'll do it. How about if a few of us do it together though? That sound like more fun!

Roger Kuhlman

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 8:42 p.m.

I really do not understand why some people feel entitled to have their own ideas, values, and desires funded by the community as a whole. So one will have to explain that odd viewpoint. It seems awfully self-centered and selfish to me.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 6:02 p.m.

cfsunlet Absolutely. Offering a public comment section is a nice idea. People can share ideas and vent. It seems here, sometimes, that five or ten negative people somehow make themselves feel that their views are that of the majority. They encourage each other to "votes these guys out" but they are preaching to the choir. There are many more of us out here who feel very differently about Ann Arbor.

A A Resident

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 4:43 p.m.

Cfsunset, I like art OK. In fact, I like it enough that I'm a successful professional artist/artisan. This doesn't mean that I think money should be squandered on it, or spent thoughtlessly. My opinion, and my main objection is that they could fund many decent art installations with that money, rather than spending it all on just one. Clownfish, I wasn't aware of the public meetings. I'm just an artist, and don't stay up on stuff that much I guess.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 1:34 p.m.

They did hold public meetings. Where were you? Too busy posting on a blog your outrage over people not taking part in government?


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 1:33 p.m.

This forum is always filled with the same 20 or so negative people who repeatedly express negative opinions, don't like art, and don't support any government spending. I get the feeling it is far from representative of the Ann Arbor community at large.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 1:18 p.m.

They tracked down and talked to the two people in the entire town that like it, and called them "the community."


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 12:19 p.m.

I am all for publicly funded works of art, but I wish they had made an effort to hire a local artist or at least somebody based in Michigan. We need to keep our tax dollars in the state.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 4:55 p.m.

You've got that right, Usual Suspect.

Usual Suspect

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 1:53 p.m.

Local artists know they would be wasting their time submitting anything to these clowns.

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 12:47 p.m.

The process is open to everyone. Submitting a formal project proposal is hard work and apparently nobody local wanted to do that work.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 12:07 p.m.

I actually can get on board with this one. It makes an otherwise urn appealing concrete landscape more attractive. Unlike the project at the cascades, which are fine as they are.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 12:01 p.m.

Outstanding choice. It would be really cool if there were a way to change the colors during the fall so it looked like leaves changed.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 1:13 p.m.

Tagging artists will gladly change the colors of this art once installed.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 12:04 p.m.

Like one of those 60s-era colorwheels you used with your aluminum Xmas tree.

Kevin McGuinness

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : noon

Hard to believe the city is planning to spend this money while dead trees blight public easements -- where are their priorities?

Roger Kuhlman

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 8:36 p.m.

Money is money KMHall. It all comes from the taxpayer.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 5:56 p.m.

Kevin Different monies.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 12:04 p.m.

Those real trees are too high maintenance. We're going with "art trees" instead.

tom swift jr.

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 11:59 a.m.

What a target for the taggers... Cut the price to $100,000 for the art work, use the other $260,000 to hire a minimum wage security guard for five years or so to keep the spray cans and markers away from the art.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 11:58 a.m.

Bye-bye, third of a million dollars. Is there anyone that truly thinks that is a good use of that money? Anyone??


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 9:39 p.m.

Lots of silent people. Yeah, sure. I bet that's why they finally killed of the percent (skim) for art program - because the demand was so strong.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 5:55 p.m.

Brad There are lots of people. They just don't engage in this comment business.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 4:11 p.m.

Tano, since you are under the delusion it's a good use of money, how about you pay or cleanup every time it's tagged? I'd like my 3 bucks back.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 3:06 p.m.

Yes, I think it is a good use of money. I like the design. It works out to about a one-time cost of about $3 per resident. Thats less than what many people pay for one cup of coffee - about the cost of 1/3 of a sandwich at our iconic sandwich shop.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 1:49 p.m.


The Picker

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 12:30 p.m.

Brad, I'm perplexed with your question. Do I vote you up to agree or down to agree? In any event I agree with you!


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 11:52 a.m.

Who is going to be able to appreciate this as we drive by? Should we all slow down, brake, park, get out of our cars to "ooh" and a"aah" over this?


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 7:47 p.m.

Getting out of your car every once in a while seems like an excellent idea.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 1:11 p.m.

Yes, another waste of our money.

A A Resident

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 11:47 a.m.

Have they sought proposals from the U of M Art Department yet? If not, why? Too practical? Too inexpensive? Under the right circumstances, it might even be free. A student project overseen by faculty would fit the educational agenda; would be somewhat local; would have thematic ties with that main corridor to the Stadium.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 5:28 p.m.

This wasn't a closed process, anyone could apply. If the expertise to do an installation piece (no small undertaking) exists within the faculty and they didn't apply, then shame on them to pass up this opportunity, right? But how is the selection committee to blame for that?

A A Resident

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 10 a.m.

Cfsunlet, your last post seems to be based on a set of shaky assumptions. What I had in mind was a faculty-led project, not student-led. Don't you think the faculty might include at least a few experts? These are college students, some of whom are extremely talented, not three-year-olds playing with finger paints.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 8:44 p.m.

@AA Resident: yes, this is something I have experience with, but it shouldn't take experience to come to this conclusion, just a little deeper thinking. I can't speak to your friend's situation, but, by their nature students are learning and, if your friend was being paid, they were an expert on something that others wanted to learn. Plus, a student-lead project is far different than an expert leading a project with students working on the team. Do you really want a public art project to be a trial-by-fire learning experience for someone?

Roger Kuhlman

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 8:33 p.m.

Anything that was free or inexpensive would not satisfy the vanity and egotistic needs of the local political elites and that is a central reason why we have such expensive city art projects.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 5:54 p.m.

cfsunlet Thank you.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 5:52 p.m.

Student Art... just... no.

A A Resident

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 4:31 p.m.

Cfsunlet, are these things you actually know? An acquaintance of mine had the U of M pay him so students could work on his private project. That's right, they paid him!


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 1:29 p.m.

Just because a student makes the art doesn't mean it is free or even cheap. An experienced artist will have a better understanding of materials and installation cost. Plus student work is pretty esoteric and not likely to appeal to the average citizen.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 12:25 p.m.

Wow, that seems impossibly practical.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 11:42 a.m.

Until the Democrats in Ann Arbor vote out the Democrat City Council, I don't see any way to get a change in behavior. You would think by this point they would at least hire some local artist, and scale down the budget to under $100,000.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 1:58 p.m.

Today, Tuesday, I think is your chance to vote in a new council member! Vote for Jack Eaton.

The Picker

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 12:19 p.m.

They were born democrats and they will die democrats. Hopefully we won't die along with them.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 11:46 a.m.

AA voters are apathetic. Voter turn out is normally very low. Until this changes and the bulk of registered voters get a snoot full, I have little faith anything will change.

Lightnin' Bug

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 11:40 a.m.

For all those people complaining, stop VOTING theses people in!

Roger Kuhlman

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 8:28 p.m.

Please! the majority of Ann Arborites do not and never have voted in city elections. Left-wing special interests control this town lock, stock, and barrel.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 5:52 p.m.

Tano Thank you.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 3:03 p.m.

The people complaining are not responsible for voting these people in. It is the majority of Ann Arborites who are doing that.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 2:15 p.m.

Yes. Yes. Yes. PLEASE.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 11:36 a.m.

I am not going to comment on the art aspect of this, except to say that it screams that we need to be taking care of the actual trees here in tree town. This feels a little like "paving paradise".


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 3:01 p.m.

Hmmm Putting art on a preexisting bridge = "paving paradise"??? So the unadorned bridge = paradise? Art = paving?

Jack Gladney

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 2:01 p.m.

Jen, you win the Joni Mitchell box set. That was my first thought.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 11:35 a.m.

WHAT A CROCK OF..... $360k to an OUT OF STATE "artist" for a bridge?? Our roads are crumbling Mr. Mayor!!!!! Get your priorities straight!!!


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 11:20 a.m.

Don't forget about the $800,000 they decided NOT to return to its originating "buckets," but rather just to pay people and "administer" this atrocious failure of an art program. What an incredible waste of money this public art program has been, from the very beginning. What an insane waste of our hard-earned tax dollars. The public art program should be ended. Completely. The "commission" disbanded, and the attempts to continue to misspend our money stopped. Art is great. These people are TERRIBLE at picking it and really good at spending money on it. Hopefully today we'll get make a step towards one more small percentage of common sense on the council. Get out there and vote, people. PLEASE!


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 11:14 a.m.

I'd like to see a break down of the costs. This seems to be rather expensive tile.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 11:47 p.m.

It's priceless

Jack Gladney

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

Since they like to use out-of-stare talent, maybe the City Council can get a bid from Virginia Tile Company. They could save some money on the project and have enough left over to pay a part-tme night watchman to protect it until 2024.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 11:13 a.m.

Public. Art. Administrator.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 3 p.m.



Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 10:56 a.m.

Graffiti proof them please. Security cams? Consider also if the sun's reflection might cause problems for drivers, cyclists. Also believe this to be a colossal waste of money that is going to someone not from Michigan.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 2:28 p.m.

Sun's reflection? Under a bridge?! Other than that I'm with you!


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 10:51 a.m.

Wonder how long before graffiti covers this expensive art?


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 10:39 a.m.

Another colossal waste of money that could better used elsewhere.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

Couldn't have worded it better.

A A Resident

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 10:29 a.m.

Why a $360,000 depiction of trees, rather than real trees? What's the Art Commission's fixation with expensive fake trees, like the ugly metal ones in West Park?


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 2:57 p.m.

"Why a $360,000 depiction of trees, rather than real trees?" Real trees don't grow well on or under bridges, and they get in the way of the traffic.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 2:13 p.m.

Fake trees do not need to be trimmed or removed by a city department that is under-funded and under-staffed.

The Picker

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 12:13 p.m.

Don't forget the inverted Christmas tree in the Justice Center!


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 11:13 a.m.

I know.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 10:21 a.m.

The "dead tree" project lives. No leaves, no local artist, a constant reminder of winter. Goodie.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 3:15 p.m.

It would have been nice to have a local artist and, Yes, trees full of color would have been much nicer.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 11:46 p.m.

Maybe we could contract an add-on to the project for a quarterly update at an additional $360,000 each where the artist will change the seasons on the trees.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 10:19 a.m.

This is nice. It looks attractive; the materials being used are nice; and its not some ridiculous modern art piece stuck on the side of the road. Congrats to artist Widgery.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 10:16 a.m.

It at least looks better than the " tongue depressor " but what an abject waste of $$$$$...this will become the taggers " holy grail " ..only in Oz...

Roger Kuhlman

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 3:58 a.m.

Having all taxpayers pick up the cost for a piece of public Art is a necessary expression? Who says and why? Maybe I could suggest other types of necessary expressions that I like that would cost the taxpayers money. So how about paying for them too!

Sam S Smith

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 3:56 p.m.

clownfish, the cities you list that have % for art funds, are their art funds from embezzled funds?

Jaime Magiera

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 11:59 p.m.

How do the other cities "not compare" to Ann Arbor?


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 11:41 p.m.

@clownfish, you listed some major cities that do not compare to Ann Arbor, a few states (again not apples to apples), one city that is in another country and a private university that does not even have taxing authority. So while I appreciate the attempt to make an argument for the practice of a % for public art program, I can't understand how this correlates to Ann Arbor's program. Anyone have a better list?

Jaime Magiera

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 8:44 p.m.

Public art is neither vanity, nor luxury. It's expression - a necessary component of any culture.

Roger Kuhlman

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 8:21 p.m.

What about having a city that values simplicity and frugality instead of vanity and luxury?


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 7:59 p.m.

"I think you missed the part that the money is from a specific section of the budget and cannot be used elsewhere. " That's funny because that is EXACTLY what the percent for art program was - skimming money from specific millages and using them elsewhere. You have it backwards.

Jaime Magiera

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 5:12 p.m.

I think you missed the part that the money is from a specific section of the budget and cannot be used elsewhere. So, it's not "wasting money". It's spending money to beautify an otherwise dreary aspect of modern infrastructure.

Usual Suspect

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 5:05 p.m.

We are in trouble if wasting public money is considered "cultured and modern."

Jaime Magiera

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 4:36 p.m.

"But mom, everyone else is being cultured and modern!" "No, you have to stay stuck in the gray, concrete world of the 1900s where the closest thing to public art are the commercial billboards for Cracker Barrel and McDonalds!"

Usual Suspect

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 1:56 p.m.

"Many cities have % for art programs." "But mom, everybody else is doing it!"


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 1:55 p.m.

Other places with % for Art programs. Boulder, Bolton Kansas City Philadelphia Maine, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Minnesota, Chapel Hill, Ohio, Oregon, Montana, New Hampshire, Palm Desert, New Haven, Toronto, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Roanoke, Virginia


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 1:31 p.m.

Actually, this stuff goes on all over the place. Many cities have % for art programs. There are exits at the north, south, east and west of Oz if you find your stay here to terrible to endure.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 12:22 p.m.

That is the sad truth. I hope these surfaces are easy to clean and strong enough to withstand repeated scrubbings.