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Posted on Wed, May 29, 2013 : 5:55 a.m.

New $150K public art installation inside Ann Arbor's Justice Center complete

By Ryan J. Stanton


The new art installation inside Ann Arbor's police-courts building, otherwise known as the Justice Center, next to city hall. The piece, titled "Radius," was installed over the weekend by Portland artist Ed Carpenter.

Ryan J. Stanton |

A new hanging sculpture can be found inside the lobby of Ann Arbor's Justice Center after Portland-based artist Ed Carpenter completed the installation during the holiday weekend.

The city's latest piece of public art — titled "Radius" — measures 40 feet by 20 feet by 12 feet and is made of dichroic glass, aluminum and stainless steel, with integral LED lighting.


The piece starts in the corner of the Justice Center lobby, looking out at the intersection of Huron Street and Fifth Avenue downtown. It wasn't easily visible from outside on Tuesday morning, but it's expected to be more visible at night.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Citizens heading into the city's police-courts facility on Tuesday morning already were giving the $150,000 installation their own personal reviews.

Some said they really liked it, others thought it cost taxpayers too much money, and one city employee admitted she walked right by it without noticing.

Amy McCuiston, a University of Michigan employee passing through the building Tuesday morning, said she really likes the new piece, which gives off blue, green, yellow and purple glows.

"I like it a lot," she said. "I like the different colors. It's peaceful. I think it's very soothing, too, because most people when they're coming in are nervous."

Art Bolzman had a different opinion.

"It's way too much. Why would you spend that kind of money?" said Bolzman, adding he would like to see the city buying less-expensive art.

Charles Reed, a court security deputy who works at the entrance checkpoint, has a clear view of the new artwork from his work station.

He said late Tuesday morning nobody had specifically paid a visit just to see the artwork yet, but he's expecting that to change once the word gets out.


A closeup of some of the finer details of the piece.

Ryan J. Stanton |

"I have no problem with it and I think it looks pretty nice up there," he said. "I have no problem with people coming to see it or anything else. It seems like a pretty nice piece of art."

The project won approval from the Ann Arbor City Council in an 8-2 vote in May 2012, with Council Members Jane Lumm and Stephen Kunselman objecting to it.

Lumm proposed canceling the project altogether and redirecting the $150,000 back to the Municipal Center project budget where the money originated. Kunselman joined Lumm in opposing the project, saying he thought there were better places for public art in the city.

The City Council is in the process of giving the city's public art program a makeover, changing the way future projects are funded and eliminating the controversial Percent for Art funding mechanism that since 2007 has channeled 1 percent of capital project dollars toward public art.

Carpenter specializes in large-scale public installations ranging from architectural sculpture to infrastructure design. He works internationally from his studio in Portland, Oregon.

His work can be found inside the Portland Justice Center, Michigan State University's Brody Hall, Rockefeller Center in New York, Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, a U.S. Courthouse in Seattle, Orlando City Hall and many other places.

Carpenter said in his original proposal that "Radius" is designed to involve as much of the lobby as possible, radiating from the southeast corner, visible from inside and outside, day and night. But the sculpture wasn't easily noticeable from outside on Tuesday morning.

Lighting in the piece's hollow center illuminate gleaming glass and anodized aluminum details. When sun strikes, the dichroic glass elements reflect colored light in luminous compositions.

"Like ripples from a stone tossed into a pond, 'Radius' emanates outward through the Justice Center lobby, a reminder of the interconnectedness of the public with the agencies serving them, and suggesting a network of cause and effect in the public realm," the artist's statement reads.

What do you think of the new piece? Take our poll below.

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.



Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 1:58 a.m.

I think Ikea sells a ceiling light like this for $49.95.


Thu, May 30, 2013 : 5:08 a.m.

So that's $50K for the art, $50K for the installation, and $50K for the artists statement? Or how does that price tag break down? Love to see a line item invoice for this work. Does it come with a warranty?

Frustrated in A2

Thu, May 30, 2013 : 3:09 a.m.

Like a lot of other people I think this money could've been better spent. This is why I vote for change on city council, mayor included.

Ryan J. Stanton

Thu, May 30, 2013 : 2:17 a.m.

You can actually see the installation right when you step through the doors of the Justice Center. If you want a closer look, yes, you have to empty out your pockets and walk through a metal detector. I agree it's a bit of an inconvenience and not an ideal scenario, but it seems like the majority of the people who are ever going to see it are people already going into the building with another purpose anyway.


Thu, May 30, 2013 : 2:52 p.m.

Ryan, I'm kind of appalled by your "meh" attitude here; if it's inconvenient, not an ideal situation, and most people who see it only see it because they were going into the building for some other (most likely very unpleasant) purpose anyway, don't you see that as a MAJOR failure of the public art commission and a serious misuse of the tax dollars they spent? Is the mission of that commission to put expensive stuff that some people may or may not like in places where generally somebody will probably see it as long as they're in there anyway, and it might be inconvenient but not overly so as long as you already made the trip? I mean, come ON, man. Your lukewarm acceptance of it is one of the best arguments for the IMMEDIATE dissolution of the art commission I've seen.


Thu, May 30, 2013 : 1:36 p.m.

"But a majority of council members, including Mayor John Hieftje, supported the project as proposed and said they look forward to resolving issues regarding public accessibility." Well then I submit that this was not and is not a "public" piece for the "people" but a bauble. A self congratulatory and narcissistic expression by the above quoted "servants of the people."


Thu, May 30, 2013 : 2:17 a.m.

County vendors such as myself have lost a lot of income due to cost cutting measures. Regular employees are losing benefits. So, why not tighten the belts all the way around? For the art at the new bridge, why not hold a contest, with one winner from each of the 4 or 5 largest Ann Arbor high schools? The winners would not be paid, but would have plaques in their honor. Perhaps the supplies could be donated. It would be much more meaningful that using somebody from Portland or whatever. As it stands now, our leaders have too much discretion. It seems like some laws or polices need to be rewritten.

Arno B

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 11:52 p.m.

Don't we get the government we deserve? Personally I would have much preferred a statue of Shakey Jake next to the City Hall water monument. Wouldn't it be nice to have him looking upward - with his banjo in one hand end and the other holding up his coat - at the fountain bubbling over? Then again it might be even nicer to mount a statue of him on the new bridge. Personally I think that would be more appropriate than putting up a placque to our beloved Tooth Fairy (Dingell).


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 9:55 p.m.

I know some kids at Community, and no doubt there are other local schools with talented kids, that would have saved you the $150K and done something BETTER than a piece of oversized sports equipment for FREE. Better yet, the city could have donated the money to the AAPS for student art. Not impressed.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 9:40 p.m.

Absolutely wonderful piece!


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 7:16 p.m.

Yes, I did, Brad. No big deal.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 10:23 p.m.

So you went through security to check it out?

Laurie Barrett

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 9:32 p.m.

Wow--what an amazing aesthetic masterpiece. This will be good for Ann Arbor because people will travel from throughout the state and from outside the state, maybe the country, to experience this fantastic work of art. I wouldn't be surprised if it distinguishes Ann Arbor nationally and provides an identity by which Ann Arbor is known globally. I'm sure it will go down in art history as a work of true genius.

A Voice of Reason

Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 4:47 p.m.

Are you kidding? Ann Arbor already has incredible pieces at the University of Michigan and so many fabulous assets. You think people are going to travel to Ann Arbor to walk into a public building to see this piece or any piece for that matter? You are totally removed from reality!


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 7:43 p.m.

what is it with all the ugly art in this town?


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 7:13 p.m.

can not wait until the bridge get art. I am sure the skilled trades crew of ann arbor could weld this for less money


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 7:49 p.m.

Maybe cut a deal with the spray paint graffiti "artist"?

Thomas Jones

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 6:42 p.m.

what a huge waste of money!!!!!!!!!


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 5:28 p.m.

Wow, thanks so much to the Mayor and City Council! This is way, way better than fulfilling your promise to, say, catch the rapist who was preying on the campus area a few years back. Oh wait, maybe they figure criminals will be drawn to the Justice Center and turn themselves in so they can get a better look at the art! Then again even if the city did hire more police officers they'd be dispatched to make sure cars were getting rear ended in sufficient quantities at all the crosswalks. Seriously though, if money must be spent on this frippery couldn't they at least commission a local artist? I know of at least a few who specialize in large scale installations such as this one.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 5:08 p.m.

Put the money to good use such as fixing our awful roads!!

Alan Goldsmith

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 5:01 p.m.

You're in luck Ryan! I found the data you left out of your story. It was hiding in your previous article: "The City Council voted 8-2 in May to approve a $150,000 hanging sculpture that will make its way into the lobby of the Justice Center later this year, but there have been concerns about public accessibility and visibility of the soon-to-be-installed piece. Currently, visitors must ditch their cellphones in a locker, empty their pockets and go through the security checkpoint just to enter the lobby where the public art installation will hang. City officials are continuing to discuss the location of the security checkpoint."


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 4:46 p.m.

You've got to be kidding !!!!! What a waste of money.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 4:02 p.m.

This seems more slagfest worthy than "news"worthy. It does, however, allow the regulars to trot out their same old stuff. Do you guys have those things in a word document or an email somewhere so you cut and paste them into comment field, after comment field, after comment field? No need to even read the story, just look at the headline, lick your chops, paste, paste, paste.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 9:43 p.m.

I wholeheartedly agree, LBH!!!


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 7:47 p.m.

Unfortunately, I'm sure you're right. However, the depressing part is that they're not always the same story. But if it helps, I've had plenty of jaw-slavering to do about things Ryan is CLEARLY very much in favor of as well, despite the best light he can come up with to write it in. Affordable Housing scandals, for instance (or at least tehy SHOULD be scandals, instead of S.O.P). As far as I'm concerned, the people in this town need to hear about this stuff over and over. Almost none of the Ann Arbor residents I talk to even know about things like this. Spread the word, and maybe we can cut down on them happening so much.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 6:29 p.m.

Exactly my point. Stanton knows what you love to hate and seeds the publication with it. If the measure of a "good" "news" item is to generate plenty of nasty comments then you pick something subjective, that you know dang well will tweak people, write it provoctively, and let them have at it. I'm sure there are more to come.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 4:31 p.m.

It is a testament to the incredibly incompetent, wasteful leadership in this town that we are able to so reliably find a story from a short while ago and paste the same comments about it. Believe you me, LBH; I would LOVE for enough time to pass between "look at how little value you get for your insane property taxes" stories to not quite remember exactly what I said in the last one.

Thinking over here

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 3:34 p.m.

Report potholes at They seem to fix them when they are reported.


Thu, May 30, 2013 : 5:15 a.m.

Or the newest sinkhole forming at the intersection of Pontiac Trail and Barton. I have reported this twice, once to the water department when the roadway sprung a leak, and again to the above link, as quite a large sinkhole is starting to develop in the turn lane.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 7:48 p.m.

One Giant pothole at the end of the new Stadium bridge to Main street! And don't forget AA-Saline Rd at 94!


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 3:31 p.m.

I imagine driving on that thing would feel similar to what our roads feel like.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 3:24 p.m.

Please also update us as to the new security arrangements (or lack thereof) that was supposed to accompany this piece so that the "public" could have free access to it?


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 3:20 p.m.

1) I don't like it 2) I don't like that AA spent this much money on it when other more emergent items need funding 3) Even though I don't like it, i liked the the rendition that was submitted better. Perhaps it will only look that way at a certain time of day? Kind of a Justice Center lofty Stonehenge? 4) seems like AA didn't get what it paid for.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 2:55 p.m.

That's it! I am now a believer in Extraterrestrial life!. Where did they find this spaceship? Roswell NM? lol :)

David Cahill

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 2:50 p.m.

Another example of wretched excess.


Thu, May 30, 2013 : 5:18 a.m.

Yes, if only we knew someone who could talk to the council members who voted for this project, we might be able to stop this excess in the future. But who?...who would know a member of council who voted for this? Hmmm...

Alan Goldsmith

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 4:52 p.m.

Sadly, most of City Council voted for this...and let it happen knowing the access issues. Perhaps we can direct some of our anger at them? Wrecthed excess and members of Council too cowardly to speak up.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 2:43 p.m.

OK, Ann Arbor. You get what you pay for and you get what you VOTED for. This City Council and all other "governing" and "controlling" city groups are what we should expect. Public art? There is nothing "public" about this except where it hangs. The public had no say in the matter. This liberal, democrat council is simply what it is - a narcissistic, sanctimonious group that will always spend other people's money in any way THEY choose. This is Ann Arbor.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 4:50 p.m.

Well said JGA2true blue. YOU hit the nail on the head:)


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 2:32 p.m.

Oh, joy. the next time I wrench my ankle in one of the potholes downtown while crossing the street, I will think of this, it will certainly cheer me up(stinging sarcasm)......

Jeff Mausolf

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 2:14 p.m.

Looks like something Madonna wore as a brassiere in the 1980's.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 4:33 p.m.

@Jeff. An interesting insight. Yer a guy with the ability to think outside the box.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 2:36 p.m.

good one!


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 2:11 p.m.

I bet this artist plays badminton...and built his own court with A2 $. Does this shuttlecock come with the rackets too ?


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 2:50 p.m.

Yeah - there's a racket involved.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 2:07 p.m.

and our roads are still shabby and houses need to be torn down. this is really sad.

pooh bear

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 2:06 p.m.

and there is nowhere to sit in city hall at all!! benches and a few chairs would be wonderful for us old folks


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 2:06 p.m.

There's nothing listed next to each letter to choose from. Those who approved spending this kind of money are obviously liberal democrats. They just love to waste other peoples money on unnecessary and expensive things that the majority of law abiding citizens will likely never even see.

Thom in Ann Arbor

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 2:01 p.m.

Art commission members are listed here. Appointed by our dear friend the mayor. I am ready for a clean sweep of city government ... with the possible exception of Mr. Taylor ... heck, I'd probably even vote for a Republican!

Bob W

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 4:35 p.m.

'Art commission members are listed here. Appointed by our dear friend the mayor. I am ready for a clean sweep of city government ..." Thom, I'm with you up to that point. ;o)


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 2:53 p.m.

That's crazy talk. These days, nothing — not even our joke of a city council — could get me to vote for a Republican. We sure could use some better Democrats, though.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 1:54 p.m.

I have not yet seen this artwork and it looks very nice, but I'd like to know the equation that would allow one to equate its price to the the cost savings cuts from the A2 school budget. For example, how many buses, how many teachers, how many 7th period classes?


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 1:39 p.m.

If a motor to spin it around were added, Ann Arbor could claim that it had the world's ugliest, most expensive ceiling fan.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 1:29 p.m.

The article needs to be edited to reflect that anyone wanting to view it needs to go through security first. It isn't viewable from outside the building. So much for "public" art. I'm still waiting for a list of the members of the so-called "Public Art Commission" who made this decision, along with the decision on the $750,000 non functioning fountain/urinal. AA dot com needs to provide a list of names and their qualifications to make these decisions. Who are they? The city needs much more transparency on all levels. As far as this "sculpture" goes, it's an interesting piece, though totally misplaced and the money was earmarked for road maintenance, so it never should have been purchased in the first place. When is the city going to fix the potholes? Oh, that's right, there's no money! It's hanging in the Justice Center!


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 1:41 p.m.

The right hand does not know what the left hand is doing in Ann Arbor. The city council should reflect the needs of the citizens, but really does not do so in a very efficient manner. In my opinion, the Mayor is the only person in Ann Arbor who has a handle on it.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 1:28 p.m.

Perhaps one of the criteria for selecting a piece of art for the city should be its investment potential. I would not be so concerned with the cost if I knew in 25 years the city would actually have an asset worth more than its cost. Look at how attractive the Detroit Institute of Art's holdings are looking to the Detroit Emergency Manager. (Perhaps the DIA should be running Detroit. Looks like they have done a fine job providing pleasure to the public and growing the value of their holdings.)


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 4:13 p.m.

Veracity, I certainly don't think the DIA holdings should be sold! Not at all. I am just trying to say that spending $750,000 of our taxpayer money might be money better spent if was worth more than that in the future.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 2:02 p.m.

But the Detroit Emergency Manager is looking to sell off the treasures of the DIA holdings to reduce the city's deficit. How attractive will the DIA be when it is empty?


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 1:21 p.m.

Why do I have an urge to stand under it and yell "Renew!"?


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 9:17 p.m., er, sanctuary......................

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 2:46 p.m.

Life clocks are a lie! Carousel is a lie! There is no renewal!


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 1:16 p.m.

Rather than voting in the poll how about everyone make sure to vote in the Aug 6 primary where most council members are actually elected. They sure are not listening to their constituents as far as the art spending so it's time to elect some people with "better hearing".


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 1:49 p.m.

Council provides the funding, so yes, they are ultimately responsible.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 1:37 p.m.

It's not the council members on this one, it's the "Public Art Commission." I've yet to see a list of who these people are, and their qualifications to make these decisions.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 1:31 p.m.

True. This is particularly important in Ward 4. Jack Eaton needs just a few more votes than he got two years ago.

Daniel Piedra

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 1:13 p.m.

Disgusting. I wonder how many hungry children could have been fed with that $150,000.

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 4:50 p.m.

Unfortunately there will always be hungry children. So if we allowed that to dicate our actions, we would never get to have dessert, go to a movie, or have parks.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 1:17 p.m.

@Daniel Piedra: Or, how many children who could have been better educated rather than ending up being beckoned by Radius into the criminal justice system...

Marianne Sachs

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 1:12 p.m.

With all the gifted artists in Ann Arbor (and Michigan) and with all the economic slump in this state, did the board really have to got out of state to pay all that money (which could be used to help economic development in Ann Arbor) for a hanging light show? I am an artist and am furious that the board should waste public money on such a scandal.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:58 p.m.

Public ? I think not, if I want to view this 150,000.00 dollar light fixture I first need to surrender my phone and clear the security check point. City council, listen up, how about you establish a fund to clean up the graffiti that plagues our city. Ann Arbor is a mess, clean up the graffiti, fill the pot holes, forget the unnecessary and unwanted "public art". Between the nonfunctioning water sculpture thing and the extremely expensive light fixture nearly 1,000,000.000 dollars has been wasted.

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:53 p.m.

The council said this would be open to the public, rather than behind the security checkpoint in direct violation of the Public Art Charter. Have they solved that or are they ignoring the rules, again, like everyone predicted?

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:52 p.m.

i was in there yesterday+i also didnt notice it!


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:48 p.m.

So do you still have to run the Barney Fife gauntlet at the door just to view the art without windows in front of you?


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:45 p.m.

As I drive the rutted streets, hoping I won't get a flat tire, I shall remind my simple self that we have "glorious art installations to enrich our lives".


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:49 p.m.

It's feeding your soul, Gladys. Unfortunately I looked at the fountain a little too long and my soul got heartburn.

sandy schopbach

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:35 p.m.

Between this outlay and the "work of art" outside the building, a LOT of taxpayer money was wasted. Has that outside work ever worked for any length of time at all? And I'm a patron of the arts, a true believer. But really, this money could have been used for many other things in the realm of justice. Those who work there end up very rapidly not seeing them. Those called before the court are too worried or relieved to see them.

Nick Danger

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:34 p.m.

Isn't it a shame there are no artist in the state of Michigan? When will our art consultants recognize the talent right in their own backyard?

Kai Petainen

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:30 p.m.

hmm... someone get out a tripod and take a pic of it at night. i'm curious to know what it looks like then...

Alan Goldsmith

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:28 p.m.

Elite Art behind a security checkpoint. It's what Ann Arbor is all about.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 1:30 p.m.

Great comment!


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:27 p.m.

$150 K for a piece of public art from a tight city budget. And this piece, as the others will require upkeep over the years, costing even more. Wow. Have you ever even considered creating a "wish list" for art the Deuce may want, and allowing private donations to purchase it? And provide maintenance of it? A nice plaque could be displayed by the piece with the donars name, money spent and year of purchase. One never knows, but so many people, or companies, might step up we could have walking tours of city art, and/or an art park! The city budget should not be purchasing these pieces when we have citizens that cannot afford to eat.


Thu, May 30, 2013 : 2:09 a.m.

We do have walking tours of city art. They start at the Hands On museum.

Bertha Venation

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:26 p.m.

I certainly hope they can at least pick up HBO on that thang!


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:26 p.m.

Are you kidding me? Commenting on a questionable use public funds turns into a discussion on how the U.S. locks up too many criminals. If you think it so bad here immigrate to a "freer" country like North Korea or Iran. And I really don't care if this comment gets pulled but I had to say my piece.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:26 p.m.

When you consider the art already scattered about our city and the many interesting sculptures on the U of M Campus Ann Arbor does not need more public art. But the Ed Carpenter's upside-down lamp shade is not the last expensive piece of art that will "adorn" the city's landscape. In a few days the Art Commission will display sample works of four artists competing for the last $360,000 of public money that is available for the Art Commission to spend memorializing the new Stadium bridges. A City Council task force investigating the Art Commission has already decided that the Art Commission should receive no more tax payer funding but depend on private sources and donations. Instead of limiting the source of funding, City Council should vote to eliminate the Art Commission entirely. While commissioning artwork that only the Art Commissioners' like, and by ignoring local artistic talent, the Art Commission has failed the community.

The Picker

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:21 p.m.

Excuse me, holiday tree !

The Picker

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:20 p.m.

A more cost effective option would have been to hang an inverted aluminum Christmas tree to achieve the same result.

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 1:02 p.m.

Inverted to symbolize the dashed hopes and lost dreams of those who cross through the metal detector. Art that speaks to the uncertainty of the human condition. I have the overwhelming urge to pour a glass of wine and eat some cheese.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:14 p.m.

I like it. But not for $150,000. $25,000? Sure. It's probably worth that. But $150,000? The taxpayers got screwed.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:11 p.m.

Why do they keep using out of state artists? Michigan is chock full of competent artists that could do this work, probably cheaper. 150k is not a good value for this piece. Assuming a material cost of $10,000 (probably a high estimate) and a shop rate of $70/hr ...did it really take 2000 hours to design/build/finish and install? I gave it a "C". Interesting design, but not outstanding, overpriced. But then maybe I am just jealous I can't overprice my goods to such an extent.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 1:51 p.m.

You mean he's not from Portland, MI? Or AK, CO, CT, IL, IN, IA, KY, ME, MO, NY, ND, OH, PA, TN, TX, or WI? Oh, THAT Portland. I should have known.....

The Picker

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:25 p.m.

At least a local artist would be spending the money locally!

Homeland Conspiracy

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:08 p.m.

"Let them eat cake"

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, May 29, 2013 : noon

I say if just one criminal walks in there and "see's the light" then turns from his (or her to be pc) life of crime it will be money well spent. But I do think we should get some special glasses for the security guard since LED lights can cause blindness, cancer, migraines and schizophrenia according to the Internet.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 11:51 a.m.

I look forward to seeing this piece - dichroic glass is very luminous and beautiful; I would like to see how the artist used that medium.

Stupid Hick

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 6:12 p.m.

Well, based on some of the commentary on this site I suggest half the money might have been better spent to dig some public caves. Maybe then our local cave people would stop complaining so much about encroachment of civilization and culture.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:33 p.m.

Well, that is easy. You drive, cycle or take a bus to the Municipal Building, go through a metal detector and check you cellphone with officer on site and then enter the lobby. I can guarantee that you will not have to contend with crowds. And after five minutes (if that long) you can exit the building but I hope you consider how the $150,000 of tax payer money should have been put to better use.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 11:47 a.m.

The wasteful expenditure on Radius compliments the ethos of the Rog Mahal nicely! After all, where else would you build a $50 million civic building that houses a data center in the middle of a downtown district at a cost of over $400 per square foot? Or the Huirinal, a semi-functioning waterfountain built for $750,000? To put $150,000 into perspective, it is the cost of one and a half teachers for one year (AAPS is firing 50 of them instead of eliminating its $4.5 million discretionary fund) and would pay for two firefighters in a city that is two fire fighters short of the minimum required staffing under the best possible conditions to meet national standard response time best practices for emergency medical services or fires. Yes, I know those are paid from other "buckets" of public money, I am just pointing out the magnitude of the waste for a piece of art work the public cannot see without submitting to a search.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 1:35 p.m.

@Billy "The "artist" that scammed the city out of that money should be jailed..." Billy, it isn't the artist that needs to be jailed, it's whoever made the decision to purchase this debacle.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 1:13 p.m.

Radius: It's arms symbolize the ever increasing wasteful civic spending which draws into its circle an ever increasing number of individuals damaged by it, including heart attack victims who aren't reached in time and disadvantaged children from broken homes who aren't properly educated and end up being welcomed into the criminal justice system Radius beckons you to enter.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:45 p.m.

Actually, while the money spent on Radius couldn't have been sent on teachers, it could actually have been spent on fire fighters, since they are funded by the City's General Fund and money could have been recycled from the Ann Arbor DDA into paying for firefighters. The Ann Arbor DDA contributed something like $7 million towards the cost of building the "Rog Mahal" addition to city hall, and currently is giving something like $2 million a year to the General Fund.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:33 p.m.

Yes, sorry to say it is true, @Billy!


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:20 p.m.

"Or the Huirinal, a semi-functioning waterfountain built for $750,000?" Wait wat? PLEASE tell me they didn't spend that much on it. It has less material cost in it than that broken shuttlecock probably has less than $5000 in material in it, and took less than 20 man hours to build... The "artist" that scammed the city out of that money should be jailed...


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 11:40 a.m.

It looks like a badminton shuttlecock with lights. I love art, I value art, life without art would be a brutal pointless existence, but this "piece" is not so much art as the folly of a small group of self-appointed critics. If you want to increase the sensibility of life for all AA citizens, install a well-designed, self cleaning restroom in a public space for all to use.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 1:41 p.m.

@Fullbound, unfortunately, the public self-cleaning restroom would be taken over by the homeless unless there were full time guards. Good idea, but AA's policy on coddling panhandlers, etc, would make it unworkable.

Kyle Mattson

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 1:04 p.m.

That is the proper term for what he is referring to.

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 1:01 p.m.

how did he get away with shuttlecock?

Linda Peck

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 11:38 a.m.

It is very pointy and hard.

Linda Peck

Fri, May 31, 2013 : 12:56 a.m.

I guess I should blush now because I was just referring to the object and its qualities. I am not really very sophisticated on word matters and meanings. I apologize.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 8:56 p.m.

Like the administrations heads?


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:01 p.m.

So is the skewer that the Art Commission is ramming through us!


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 11:47 a.m.

Please delete this so everyone will think I made a clever but inappropriate response.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 11:28 a.m.

It's graceful and beautiful and perfect for that space. The mom in me thinks, "But who will dust it over the years?" Nice that it's visible both inside and outside, day and night.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 4:21 p.m.

My first thought was "How many drunk drivers paying $500 fine will it take to pay for this idiotic piece of metal." My second thought was "How will they dust it." Install a dust collector up near the ceiling = a hazard for those that suffer from asthma and other respiratory diseases. Truly this project does a disservice to our community.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:15 p.m.

Very labor-intensive to dust/ clean was one of my first impressions too.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : noon

But is it needed more than street repairs, replacement street lights, more police and more firemen? How often do you see yourself visiting the Municipal Center just to view the chandelier?


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 11:26 a.m.

I'd love to stop by and get some photos of it, except I imagine I will still have to surrender any cell phones or cameras before they let me in to see it. So much for 'public' art.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 11:20 a.m.

The tsunami of stupidity sweeps ever onward....

Chase Ingersoll

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 11:10 a.m.

Dittos to The Diag Squirrel. We have an incarcerated class and an Incarcerating Class. We talk about the damage done by and done to the incarcerated class, but what about those who spend their lives involved in the incarceration of a significant portion of society? They too can become part of a subculture that can denigrate into an entitlement collective, where they see their role in society as more important than any other group's and entitled to a degree of lavishness. *** ray of hope*** If you ask people in Drug / DUI Court, shining brighter than this overpriced trinket in the lobby is Judge Burk and probation / drug court officers who are described as "...they really care about you..." Why does this story get less ink than "the ornament".


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:18 p.m.

"They too can become part of a subculture that can denigrate into an entitlement collective, where they see their role in society as more important than any other group's and entitled to a degree of lavishness." mean the Bourgeois.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 11:04 a.m.

My only comment is about the poll. I have no idea what it means. Did you mean what "grade" do you give the installation?

Rose Garden

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 10:58 a.m.

I am expecting to read a huge number of negative comments about the art--how we could have spent the money on this or that instead. I think the artwork is beautiful and I don't begrudge the money spent on it. I do think that the person who designed the non-functioning fountain outside should be accountable. There should have been an agreement that he return his down payment and not receive the balance until the fountain was functioning. I am certain it could be made to function if enough money were spent to make it do so. It should have come out of the pocket of the designer/installer.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 1:23 p.m.

"I do think that the person who designed the non-functioning fountain outside should be accountable." More important, the person or people who APPROVED this non functioning "fountain" to the tune of $750,000 need to be held accountable.

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 1:03 p.m.

The fountain issues are the fault of the city council. They ignored that water freezes in ann arbor and that freezing is not compatible with small pumps and valves. They ignored the cost of winterization and maintenance. They glossed over and rejected those concerns (and all others) in approving an art project that greatly exceeded the per-piece price cap. Rather than get some experience with small peices, and win some public support, they immediately went for a big piece to decorate their palace. It is a fitting monument to their excessive spending, and their failure to lead and govern. In years to come, it will be emblemic of those traits. And in that sense it is truly appropriate and representative art for the council and mayor.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:48 p.m.

If you ever need emergency services and they arrive too late you will probably be told that those services were reduced to budget restrictions, i.e., we had to spend the money on some non-functional piece of art that almost NO ONE will see.

Homeland Conspiracy

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:06 p.m.

Maybe you can pay for the "piece" of art in full out of your pocket

Alan Goldsmith

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 10:57 a.m.

Why was the fact you have to go through a security checkpoint to view this art left out of the story?

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:58 p.m.

+put your cellphone in a "free" locker that sucks all info out of it.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 10:42 a.m.

Two things -- first, the shortage of funds to provide the city with the needed services and bringing the AAFD and AAPD up to full staffing why are the city fathers continuing to spend money on things we do not need. Second, with all of the many local artists, if they feel a strong need to spend dollars we don't have, why did they not use one of them.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 6:57 p.m.

Police officer = solves an actual problem


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 3:47 p.m.

Art = one time expense - even if there are several good sized installations a year, which there really aren't, it is money designated for it project by project in a particular year and it is not an ongoing expense. Police officer = on going yearly expense (salary, benefits) money designated to this needs to be predictably available year after year.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:24 p.m.

Maybe we can replace % for art with % for police, I would vote for that.

Homeland Conspiracy

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:05 p.m.

Maybe we need more city mothers than city fathers


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 10:40 a.m.

All I see is a damaged badminton birdie. Money could have been spent better elsewhere.

Sandra Samons

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 9:20 p.m.

That's it! And I was thinking an ornate ceiling fan! And we don't have enough $ to pay our teachers. Serious priority problem.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 2:37 p.m.

Damn You Autocorrect! Sediments?


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 1:21 p.m.

Yes, like fixing the POTHOLES!

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:56 p.m.

i wanted to post shuttlecock but know the censors would delete it.

Kai Petainen

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:31 p.m.

ha. I hadn't thought of that description, but now that you mention it. This would have been great at a racket club. then again... city council does make a lot of racket.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 11:47 a.m.

Funny description.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 11:46 a.m.

My sediments exactly!


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 10:21 a.m.

As an art connossieur, I think "Radius" has a more profound meaning, given its location: It suggests the inter-connectivity of the U.S. court system, the need for people to commit crimes in order to justify building jails and prisons, and the money that constantly flows through these buildings. (The U.S. incarcerates more people per capita than any country in the world).


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 10:16 a.m.

Nothing like going to court or paying a ticket(one of the very few reasons anyone enters this building) and seeing an example of the city's opulent waste on your way through the lobby. And within, what, 100, 200 feet of the $750,000 (and counting; we ever get a figure including the continued maintenance to keep it "working?")? The Public Art Commission and any city leaders involved with the "OK" on this proved that they cannot even be excused with "their heart was in the right place." Because clearly it was NOT. What a lovely grouping of your tax money; the fountain, this $150,000 chandelier, all on the property of the Justice Center we "needed" to build during the worst of the recession, because it was too expensive to renovaate the building we were already using (which is being renovated and is conitnuing to be used). The Justice Center, fountain, and this slap in the face in the lobby are a couple of the few tangible things you can see your property taxes going to. When visitors come and ask my wife and I what we get for paying so much more in property taxes than they do, we can bring them to the Justice Center and show them. We will walk to avoid pothole damage to our car.

Heather Harmon

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 10:04 p.m.

RUKiddingME- Your comment is indeed wonderful, but I'd like to point out that road improvement funding is received by way of the gas tax (property taxes do not fund road commissions or road improvement projects). So walking to avoid pothole damage might in fact worsen the pothole situation.

Stupid Hick

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 9:42 p.m.

Well, if city council had spent $150k to install sculpture in the lobby of a private building, maybe we could agree on something. In my opinion, a court house is an appropriate site for public art. I don't think it's a very controversial position. Actually, I think there should be more controversy over the presence of metal detectors and cell phone lockers.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 7:44 p.m.

This isn't about my assessment of the rt or its worth. I gave up all that for this one clarification with you. Do you think using Public Art money to place a piece inside a building: 1) whose sole purpose is court hearings, paying tickets, etc. (in other words, one of the last places anyone wants to be), AND 2) where you need to pass security screening and put peronal items in a locker is the work of people who are working in good faith and for the values of what one would typically understand the concept of "Public Art" to be? And if you don't think that the placement of this in any way indicates a failing on the part of the people who OK'd it, then can you name any location in a town that WOULD make you think "man, those guys are just not doing a good job, and they are not being wise or good stewards of the money OR the core values of the concept of public art"?

Stupid Hick

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 6:45 p.m.

RUKidding, I prefer being called Dr. Hick on this forum but my full name is quite ok too! To answer your question seriously: I'm not an art professional, and it's not obvious to me whether 'Radius' is out of place or over-priced. It seems roughly comparable to public works of art I've seen in other civilized, cultured, places I've visited. Is it really out of line? Compared to what?


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 6:03 p.m.

Stupid Hick (if I can call you Stupid Hick), I am of the belief that there is never a good time to waste money. However, let's say there is. Let's say you love the Fountain and think it was a great idea and worth every penny, and you love the new Justice Center and how they're renovating the building they said they couldn't renovate and that's why they needed the Justice Center. Let's say those were actually grand ideas, and if we had kept our property tax money we would have done something much dumber and less noble with it, so it was good that the city used for those things instead. Even given that: Do YOU think this $150K lantern inside a building whose only purpose is to be judged or pay tickets, where you have to be security scanned and remove metal objects, etc. being called Public Art can be described as someone's heart being in the right place? Do you feel this was a well-thought-out notion and is true to the touted goals of the Public Art Commission and artists in general?

Stupid Hick

Wed, May 29, 2013 : 5:48 p.m.

Ho hum. I predict that for some of the regular commenters on this site the recession will never end, their city leaders' hearts will never be "in the right place", and there will always be unfilled potholes to complain about.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 5:35 p.m.

WONDERFUL comment. Let's all print out a copy and remember it when the city complains it can't afford more police, garbage pick-up, or fire-fighting. I would rather be secure in my home than get an eye-full of art as I pay my ticket. If I want art, there are plenty of places. And, why an artist from Portland? Couldn't we find something a little more local?


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 2:35 p.m.



Wed, May 29, 2013 : 1:21 p.m.

Great comment. Bravo!


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:23 p.m.

We will walk to avoid pothole damage to our car. - Classic, what a great line.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 11:35 a.m.

One of the best comments I've read here in a while. Bravo sir.