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Posted on Tue, Jul 12, 2011 : 12:40 p.m.

Dexter Village Council hears pitch for public art; committee told to outline vision, timeline

By Lisa Carolin

A committee promoting public art in Dexter needs to define its goals, vision and timeline, as well as funding options, before the Village Council will approve a proposed public art ordinance.

That was the message for the Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee following a work session with the Village Council Monday night.

The committee drafted the ordinance that requires 1 percent of the cost of village capital improvement projects be set aside to fund public art, with a cap of $10,000 maximum per project.

Village Council President Shawn Keough asked the committee to define what sort of selection process it will be using to choose artwork and to explore what its long-term vision is for how the schools will be involved.

Victoria Schon, vice chairwoman of the committee, told council members that the committee would like to focus on downtown Dexter at least initially as a location for public art, which is defined as works of art created, purchased, produced or otherwise acquired for display in public spaces or facilities.

"We want art that speaks of our ruralness and our history," she said. "We don't want to look like Chicago. We want to look like Dexter."

Council member Ray Tell asked the committee to define public art that it considers unpatriotic or obscene.

"Our motivation is not to upset people," said committee member Audrey Becker, who said that it is unlikely that any such art would survive the approval process. "We're looking to enhance the community and make heritage, arts and culture visible to Dexter and make it a wonderful place for people to walk around."

Committee chairman Mike VIckers said that the committee wouldn't do anything without getting the council's approval first.

Matt LaFontaine, general manager of LaFontaine Chevrolet in Dexter, committed $5,000 for a piece of public art on his property, which is currently under expansion. The committee has discussed locating public art at several local parks including Community Park, Warrior Creek Park, Mill Creek Park and Peace Park.

"There's no place in the village that couldn't be a place for public art," said Paul Cousins, who is both a member of the Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee and the Village Council.

"My hope is that artists will start coming to Dexter to fill out applications (to have their art displayed,)" Tell said.

Vickers said that the committee will respond to the council's requests and also come up with a list of specific sites for public art as well as ideas for the type of art it would like to see in each location.

Lisa Carolin is a freelance reporter for Reach the news desk at 734-623-2530. For more Dexter stories, visit our Dexter page.



Wed, Jul 13, 2011 : 3:59 p.m.

Dexter is not A2. I like this about Dexter, it's charming. Dexter doesn't need art or "culture". I am not saying that the people of Dexter don't need these things or lack these things, they can get them by driving 15 mins to A2, where I am assuming most of them come on a weekly basis anyway, if not daily. Don't junk Dexter.

Chip Reed

Wed, Jul 13, 2011 : 10:49 a.m.

Was there this much fuss when they put up the Civil War (War Between the States) monument?


Tue, Jul 12, 2011 : 11:44 p.m.

Why would or should we want to change anything in Dexter. I'm still upset that we have paved roads and lights downtown. Do you know how much money we would have saved! Plus whats up with this clean water and waste treatment.I remember taking a bucket down to the rive and getting all the water I needed for drinking. Of course once a month I would have to get two buckets, cuz of the bath! Yes needless expense...while some people are even attracted to live in area with those needless amenities. I 'm sure lots of those people have art in their no need to have Public Art! Darn money grubbin artists! Their families are all rich when they die cuz the art is so much more valuable. Nope..if you ask me no change is good change! Why would anyone want to be enlightend, entertained, joyful or intellectually challenged by someone elses idea's and expressions. We are fine now...lets keep the status quo!!

David Briegel

Wed, Jul 13, 2011 : 2:46 a.m.

Kudos to Matt LaFontaine and Paul Cousins and those who are attempting to bring some enlightenment and culture to the bedroom wasteland. I mean, the traffic light does get boring despite those pretty colors.


Tue, Jul 12, 2011 : 10:22 p.m.

Just because the Lord Mayor of Ann Arbor and his vassals replaced their brains with clothes dryer lint when considering this issue (not to mention several others) doesn't mean that you should do likewise. There are far more important uses for scarce tax dollars than "public art".


Tue, Jul 12, 2011 : 10:02 p.m.

And when questioning the wisdom of these expenditures maybe the people in Dexter will now hear words similar to this gem that was uttered in the AA City Council: ""There are cities that have 2 percent programs,"" Boy, did that make us feel better.


Tue, Jul 12, 2011 : 9:57 p.m.

You can put out all the art you want...just don't raise my taxes and expect me to pay for it.

Dexter Bear

Tue, Jul 12, 2011 : 9:43 p.m.

How about "Decision Pending 2", a twin piece to complement "Decision Pending" in downtown Brighton?? That certainly put Brighton on the map. ;-)


Tue, Jul 12, 2011 : 9:59 p.m.

Hey - that was the most excitement they'd had in Brighton for a long time.


Tue, Jul 12, 2011 : 9:25 p.m.

KMHall Then the restaurants and shops owners should fund the art!


Tue, Jul 12, 2011 : 9:18 p.m.

Perhaps the art would attract more people to Dexter who would spend in restaurants and shops and thereby contribute to the village prosperity.


Wed, Jul 13, 2011 : 3:52 p.m.

what all twelve of?


Tue, Jul 12, 2011 : 9:02 p.m.

Sounds like our brain trust here in Ann Arbor are migrating west. Could it be they see the handwriting on the wall here?

zip the cat

Tue, Jul 12, 2011 : 7:14 p.m.

How about some better roads and fix the farce of a traffic light at baker and a2 rd so you don't have to sit waiting for it to change when no one else is going the other way. How about doing something about all the drivers running all the stop signs in the village,I can't fathom that I am the only one who sees this. You need to address the problems at hand before blowing money on art WOW,When will the circus end


Tue, Jul 12, 2011 : 6:46 p.m.

"My hope is that artists will start coming to Dexter to fill out applications (to have their art displayed,)" Tell said. In reality artists will start coming to Dexter to fill out applications (to get paid) . . . by public handouts

John of Saline

Tue, Jul 12, 2011 : 6:37 p.m.

If it looks like a helicopter crashed into a public park, it's probably "public art."

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Tue, Jul 12, 2011 : 6:36 p.m.

Be very careful how you proceed with this, Dexter folks. In Ann Arbor we're paying for a million-dollar urinal that was chosen by a committee of elites. Be very careful.


Tue, Jul 12, 2011 : 6:23 p.m.

when I read the headline I was like NOOOO don't do it. I calmed down when I read there would be a cap of $10,000 per project. Much more sensible than say a $800,000 plus water fountain in a2, which will also be in front of the ugliest building in town.


Tue, Jul 12, 2011 : 6:02 p.m.

Why dont these artsy folks just fund their own art? How would they feel to find out this tax burden just cost someone their home?