You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Rate initial design proposals for Stadium Bridges public art installation and vote for your favorite artist

By Kyle Mattson

Conceptual renderings were revealed Friday by four different artists vying for a contract to install public art at the recently reconstructed East Stadium Boulevard bridges.

Rate each artist's concept by awarding stars then submit your vote for who your pick would be to progress to the next steps of completing the project.

"Lady Ann" by Volkan Alkanoglu

"Dot Matrix" by Matt Passmore

"Arbor Winds" by Catherine Widgery

"Untitled" by Sheila Klein



Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 1:52 a.m.

I like Catherine Widgery's work but did not like her presentation to City Council, as shown on cable channel 16. She's trying too hard to peddle her work and I didn't need to hear her tell me how good she thinks she is as I was looking at photographs of a mess of fallen and ghostly trees lasered into glass. Vandals will have a heyday with it.


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 3:18 p.m.

One more thought - Kyle, this is by no means the first poll where commenters have objected to omission of the choice "None of the above". Is there a reason for - or policy against - this option? Thank you.


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 3:12 p.m.

Re Commission members - excuse my ignorance - what *exactly* is an "Arts Professional"?


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 3:03 p.m.

Apparently no one is listening. If the last round of comments wasn't enough to let some one know that none of these are acceptable......well here we go again....maybe the one chosen will be improved by taggers...


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 4:23 a.m.

I vote NO to all of them. I would not love to love at any of them over and over and some I would hate. They are stale and uninspired. And why are these commissions not going to local or Michigan artists? Didn't anyone learn anything from the fiasco of the overpriced and underwhelming "international" fountain at city hall?

David Bardallis

Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 12:48 a.m.

Plant some nice trees or shrubs and be done with it.


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 12:18 a.m.

my vote: none. please tally up the reader comments to the effect of "none." please compare that to the totals voted above. only then will annarbor,com get an actual vote count.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 10:02 p.m.

Mayor Highrise will choose Arbor Winds--it seems the tallest ....


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 11 p.m.

That's funny.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 8:30 p.m.

Only in Oz. would this be classified as " art "..actually makes the tounge depressor look better if thats possible...what a collosial waste of tax money.....


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 7:47 p.m.

The third is the only nice piece here, the others are awful. Can I vote for none and leave the beautiful bridge architecture be its own art?


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 5:42 p.m.

360,000 dollars would bring many proposals. How many? These four are nice. But they are not 360k nice. When people need the basics of life like shelter, food, medicine this is an obscenity.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 5:18 p.m.

In Lady Ann - the art looks like giant EMU pom poms, ready to tear our and fly in a major thunderstorm. If the materials are very heavy, I suspect they will end up on the road in the near future in a storm causing hazards. In Dot Matrix - what I like is the fact that it will reduce the tent space for people looking to camp on public lands. It does clash badly with the natural rock wall behind. In Arbor Winds - The panels look fragmented and shattered. They look like they would reflect headlights and other light at night in ways that might distract the drivers of cars. I am not sure how secure this art would be in major storms In Untitled - I worry about the cost to anchor the pots and then to change the trees as they outgrow the pots. Because of the height and the narrow shape of the pots, the roots of these trees will probably freeze each year, leaving us with dead trees, if a couple of weeks of no rain does not kill them, but then dead trees may be the best art idea so far, give the ash borer. In short, they all seem to be poorly conceived from a road hazard, longevity point of view to me. I honestly think the bridge as is, is pretty enough. No reason to junk it up with any of these.

Pete Cunningham

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 4:36 p.m.

Any discussion of melding the ideas? I really like the potted trees of "Untitled" and the underpass art of Arbor Winds and think together would look fantastic. I don't care for the light post art of either and torn on the cheerleaders sculpture.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 4:07 p.m.

Definitely need a "none of the above" option. They really need to find some better ideas. These are really bad. Tacky. Not becoming of Ann Arbor.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 3:40 p.m.

Sadly these people use public tax money as they please. Seem to have far more dollars to spend that could possibly be needed considering the prices they are willing to pay for this so called "art".


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 3:37 p.m.

Why is there never a none or other option in these surveys? Talk about manipulating a result.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 3:05 p.m.

They're all awful. How about scrapping all of these and starting over? For the next poll, be sure to include an option for "It's a perfectly good bridge on its own and doesn't need to be tarted up with expensive, unnecessary 'art' pieces."


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 3:01 p.m.

The money should be spent on the deplorable road conditions not on frivolous "artwork". Arbor Winds shows the current future of Ann Arbor...high rises and canyons imo.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 3 p.m.

I'm with actionjackson: "John Copley, Zeke Mallory, Mary Thiefels, or Margaret Parker, not necessarily in that particular order. All townies and all great artists."


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 2:58 p.m.

I vote for the artist from Michigan. Oh...wait....


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 2:46 p.m.

"None of the above" is the only responsible choice.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

Where is the " None of the Above" choice?


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 2:27 p.m.

There really should be a choice of "none of the above". Personally, I don't think we need art work on the bridge. That money should be spent elsewhere on necessities. But, as others have said, Mayor Heiftje and his cronies will ignore what the public wants and pick the most outrageous and ugly thing.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 2:15 p.m.

All Washtenaw County eighth graders submit a weather-resistant, graffiti-resistant colorful tile, of uniform size, depicting something or somebody that they love. I'd leave the material choice to engineers. Community standards issues to be addressed by a peer review board. I do mean anything, from the Koran to chocolate creme pie to trout lilies.

Top Cat

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 2:35 p.m.

This is a great idea!

Usual Suspect

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 2:23 p.m.

No. Korans and chocolate creme pies are fine, but I draw the line at trout lilies.

Top Cat

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 2:07 p.m.

Lady Ann looks like an exploding cabbage. Dot Matrix looks like the construction workers forgot to pick up all the debris when they finished. Untitled is reminiscent of the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Arbor Winds brings to mind the day after in Hiroshima. Can't someone just paint a picture of a group of kids throwing water balloons or a pair of cardinals or something cheery?


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 1:56 p.m.

Members of the Art Commissions, listed on the city website: AAPAC Commissioners Connie Brown, Designer Marsha Chamberlin, Arts Professional Nicholas Zagar, Realtor John Kotarski, Educator Bob Miller, Realtor & Builder (Chair) Ashlee Arder, ArtServe Michigan Programs Coordinator Malverne Winborne, Educator (Vice Chair) I do think AA dot come needs to list these names when presenting the final proposals, along with the contact information for the chair.

Sabra C Briere

Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 2:39 a.m.

Dear DJ, Ms Rizzolo-Brown is the Art Commission's appointment to the North Main Task Force. At the time of that appointment, I don't think I could have put her name and face together - although I can do so, now. (Former) Council member Derezinski was successful in amending the resolution that (former) Council member Smith and I proposed, and added a seat for the Public Art Commission. Other seats were added as well at the request of the Council - someone from the Huron River Watershed Council, someone from Council. Parks and Planning also recommended representatives to the task force. The Planning Commission selected Bonnie Bona to serve on the task force (I wasn't on Planning at that time); the Huron River Watershed Council selected Elizabeth Riggs; the Parks Commission recommended Julie Grand; the Council appointed Sandi Smith (and later me); and the rest of the nominations were of residents / business owners in or adjacent to the study area. For the first 6 or so months of the Task Force's work, I sat in the audience, like any other resident, and watched the work of that task force; I was not appointed to the task force until last December, I think. As a member of Council, I don't nominate - or appoint - members of any board or commission. I vote with the rest of the Council on such nominations. Any citizen may make a recommendation that someone be considered for appointment - and any resident may apply for appointment to a board or commission. I'm sorry this is so confusing for you.


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 12:05 a.m.

If I am not mistaken Connie Brown is your appointment to the arts commission, is she not, Ms. Briere? Or was that for the North Main - Huron River Task Force?

Sabra C Briere

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 10:01 p.m.

Dear RUKidding, Here's your quote - but I recommend reading the context, too: "Briere said the Nov. 6 election results only tell city officials that 56 percent of voters decided they did not want to be taxed for public art, but 44 percent actually did want to be taxed. "When we represent our constituents, we don't represent only those who agree with us. We represent those who disagree with us," Briere said. "We don't just represent the majority. We represent all the minority voices as well. I would really like an opportunity to hear those minority voices." The Chronicle covered the November 19, 2012 meeting here: and the December 3 meeting here: Coverage in the dotcom: Finding this stuff on line is a constantly challenged skill.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 7:30 p.m.

Thank you for finding that info, Sabra, and for being communicative about the issue. I intend to re-read those stories, as it's been a while. So what WAS the meeting you were at which was covered in the Chronicle? Would you mind putting links in here? For some reason the searches I'm running on Chronicle and on are NOT returning what I would expect (and's is especially difficult, as it returns page hits, so any article on a page that also contains an article with the words you're searching for is returned. Also, "articles tagged as..." does not seem to return the results I would expect either, perhaps because things weren't tagged that way at the time). Thanks again.

Sabra C Briere

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 7:12 p.m.

Dear RUKidding, I found some coverage on The Chronicle's website. The text says that, "Sabra Briere, a Ward 1 councilmember who attended the meeting, added that in a special election, you'll get a certain kind of voter who'll likely feel passionate about the issue, compared to the November general election. Another factor is that on Nov. 6, there will be a significant number of statewide and local issues on the ballot, she noted. An issue like this public art millage might get lost, she said, yet it might still garner enough votes. If it's the only item on the ballot – during a special election, for example – then it becomes difficult to sell, she said." You are correct - in part - about what I said at Council regarding the Percent for Art program and the public art millage. Before that meeting, I heard from quite a few constituents who voted *against* the millage because they supported the current program, or because they thought the millage would add to the money going toward public art (it would have actually increased the dollars for public art, which I said at the time.) These folks wrote, called and met with me because the wanted limited but real opportunities for more publicly funded or placed art. These were the voices I heard in addition to those who just wanted to end public art altogether. And I happily worked to end the percent-for-art funding mechanism while limiting the situations where public dollars could go toward public art. I said and did more than that, however. From the Chronicle's coverage post-election: "The result of Briere's proposal would be to reduce the amount of public art funding by about 90%. For each of the last two fiscal years, the Percent for Art program has generated roughly $300,000. If Briere's proposed ordinance revisions had been in place, only about $25,000 would have been generated. [.jpg of chart showing public art allocations]" If actions speak louder than words, then I think my actions have been clear


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 5:49 p.m.

Sabra, if I have misremembered, an apology in advance. I'm trying to use's search to find that article, because if memory serves, it was coverage of a Public Art millage discussion (not a city council meeting, I don't believe), and you specifically advised or were in favor of the vote being set during a time of high UM attendance. I opined on this article vociferously. Am I incorrect that when the millage vote failed, you were the councilmember who stated that it was important to represent the people who did vote Yes, and that if 56% voted against it, that meant that 44% voted FOR it? Am I remembering that correctly?

Sabra C Briere

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 5:21 p.m.

Dear RUKidding, I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of the Ann Arbor Public Art Commission. For that matter, I did not have a role in determining the millage vote, and wasn't part of the group that proposed the millage for art. I did attend the AAPAC meeting when the millage was discussed, but I didn't offer any justification for placing the vote on any specific ballot. Of course, the initiative appeared on a November ballot, but the only other option offered at that meeting was to hold a special election. I was asked questions at that meeting - as were others. So sorry you read the coverage but didn't understand the context. As for my all-too-public position on the public art program (what could be more public than voting?) I voted (twice) to reduce the percent for art program; these ordinance amendments did not pass. I then proposed changes to the public art ordinance (an additional two times) to reduce the amount of funding for public art; the most recent time was after the millage was defeated. One of the proposed amendments passed (removed the General Fund and Sidewalks from any funding through the percent-for-art program). I did participate in the Council task force on public art; the changes to the ordinance passed, removing the percent-for-art funding mechanism. I like art, as a broad general statement, but not all pieces of art. I haven't been a big supporter of the public art program as it has been implemented.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 2:49 p.m.

Does Sabra Briere (or whatever) not participate in this PAC? It appeared she led, if not heavily participated in, the meeting in which they were fleshing out the Public Art Millage voting item. It was she, I believe, who advised that they time it for when (non-property tax paying, non-permanent A2 residents) U of M students are in town, thus making it more likely to pass. If she's not part of this commission, I find that pretty inappropriate (like more so than it already was, which was a lot).

Martha Cojelona Gratis

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 1:56 p.m.

I'd rather vote for SAES than any of these "artists"

Stephen Landes

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 1:45 p.m.

The bridges look pretty good as they are now. Why crud them up with "art"? We should be investing in good design instead of thinking we need to put a bow on everything.

Usual Suspect

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

Agree. They are decent-looking structures as they are now.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 1:40 p.m.

NONE of the above needs to be an option in this poll. Why are we not seeing a list of the members of the so called public art commission and their qualifications to make these decisions?


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 1:47 p.m.

Seriously, how hard is google? By my count, this is at least the 3rd time you've asked.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 1:21 p.m.

A better idea would be to offer the panels along the walkway to anyone who wishes to do a tile or mixed media installation. The proportions are such that none would overwhelm the others and hundreds of different people/groups could participate thereby giving Ann Arborites a sense of ownership for the new bridge. School groups, tile artists, etc. Proposals for panels could be judged by a group consisting of art teachers from the schools in town. Each person/group who is selected could then work with a designated tile installer or professional who could be responsible for making it weatherproof. This would give people a reason to walk across the bridge and take ownership of the city infrastructure. Art money set aside for this project could be spent on the local tile installers, tile makers (Motawi Tileworks, for instance), painters and so on. And local purchase of materials. Instead of outside artists who would take their considerable fee back out of the community.


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 12:24 a.m.

tile projects are almost always well received. i like this idea a lot.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 1:07 p.m.

I love the drama and pizazz of Alkanoglu's piece (sort of what I used to call downtown Tampa's "exploding chicken" stainless steel sculpture), but maintenance would be a pain -- bird nests and dirt. I also love Klein's under-the-bridge chandelier, but not her other proposals (and since UM didn't contribute to the reconstruction, why give them cheerleaders?). The dots are too esoteric and, frankly, boring. But I love the timeless beauty of Widgery's trees. They are graceful, they cover all the perspectives (pedestrians & drivers), and they would stand the test of time.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 1:06 p.m.

Instead of using $360,000 of the city money for these mostly tacky proposals, I would like see the City use the local creative youth, who are both familiar with the parts of Ann Arbor and have good taste, to complete projects like these. "creative youth" meaning brilliant art students from U of M (who could receive credit for their work, along with a long-lasting addition to their portfolio) and public school students (whose art programs are being cut right and left) [and they could work with the University students] SAES may have tainted the legitimacy of teenage artists in Ann Arbor, but there are a lot of creative adolescents in Ann Arbor who are both eager and willing to beautify the city in imaginative & productive ways.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 10:53 p.m.

How can a vandal taint the legitimacy of teenage artists? I fail to see the connection. Vandals are not artists. Artists are not vandals.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 12:42 p.m.

John Copley, Zeke Mallory, Mary Thiefels, or Margaret Parker, not necessarily in that particular order. All townies and all great artists.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 12:39 p.m.

The final choice will, of course, belong to Mayor Heiftje who appointed the membership of the Art Commission and has ultimate decision capacity. So far, he has displayed a peculiar taste for art having authorized the Dreiseitl falllen beam sculpture and the upside-down lampshade that can hardly be seen inside the Municipal Building. His only consistency has been the expensiveness of his selections. Having any art near the stadium bridges is a bad idea. The artwork will be difficult to see in passing from cars and will present a dangerous distraction for some drivers. Furthermore, few pedestrians walk over the bridges except on football weekends when passers by will have little interest in stopping to ogle art. Since no artist has yet been commissioned the $360,000 can still be returned to the capital funds from which it was swiped and for which better use can be found. But the mayor and the Art Commission membership have their own agenda and it does not include the best use of taxpayer money.


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 4:34 a.m.

Don't blame the mayor for those horror shows. Go back to the original committee. Go back directly to Margaret Parker who said in the minutes of an early meeting that no one else needed to be consulted on the $75,000 for the design/plans for the water Thing…

Jack Gladney

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 12:25 p.m.

None of the above. Great poll for gauging public sentiment. (not.)


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 2:33 p.m.

Don't give legitimacy to any of these poor ideas by pretending there is a choice here. You need to reset the poll with a 'None' choice.

Kyle Mattson

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 2 p.m.

Not our intention at all jcj, but thanks for the feedback. We'll take note of it for future polls.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

Kyle The problem is voting for the most acceptable of these appears like an endorsement of the idea.

Kyle Mattson

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 12:36 p.m.

Hi Jack- We already had a lively discussion on Ryan's story this weekend regarding the proposals where a number of people expressed their displeasure with all options. This poll is simply looking at of those currently being considered which do readers like best, even if they'd prefer for the entire project to be scrapped. As always we welcome more extended thoughts regarding the proposed installation here in the comments. I cannot recall, have you always been against the project at the bridges or are you displeased with the submitted proposals?

Dirty Mouth

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 12:24 p.m.

Arbor Winds. Party.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 12:16 p.m.

i like under the bridge where people cannot see it. this is another waste of the art commission. glad they are done.

Lake Trout

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 12:07 p.m.

How do you expect people to vote for something without information about the artists. Who are they, where do they live, what's their background. I vot NO to all.

Usual Suspect

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 1:03 p.m.

Lake, someday, when we're as smart and enlightened as the people making these decisions, we'll understand.

Lake Trout

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 12:18 p.m.

OK so I found the "rest of the story" totally disconnected from this poll - which shows up BEFORE the information article. As commentors have stated over and over, where are the local artists - we have lots of them and why aren't they getting a commission for artwork that will stay in the community. Really really stupid.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 12:14 p.m.

How would "who are they, where do they live, what's their background" influence your choice?

Sam S Smith

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : noon

360K for any of these projects is nothing more than embezzlement of our tax dollars. Sad that this cannot be prosecuted.


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 4:37 a.m.

the public arts funds don't come directly from tax dollars and they do have limitations on what they can be used for. They are only for art. But of course that money for art could be commissions to many, many local or Michigan artists, students of art etc., and in that way help many people who really need support. And keep the money here in this community.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : noon

If the painting of dogs playing poker was an option, that would win hands down in the comments section.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 2:37 p.m.

We will not be forced to live with any of these, I am certain that any of these designs, if selected and installed, will be vandalized out of existence right away. The only thing keeping the Drietsel Fountain safe is its location.

Usual Suspect

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 1:02 p.m.

"The level of reaction in this comments section, however, borders on the hysterical." As are the comments about the comments.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 12:18 p.m.

northside The problem is once the "art" is installed ( whichever of the gaudy designs they choose.) We will be FORCED to live with it too long!


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 12:13 p.m.

@ Brad: I fully understand why people would object to the art program and my comment was not intended as a defense of it. The level of reaction in this comments section, however, borders on the hysterical.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 12:08 p.m.

And it would also be a far better choice than any of this. But so would a monster velvet Elvis. So then you're OK with spending a third of a million dollars on this considering all the other possible uses of that money?


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 11:34 a.m.

Where is the option: None of the above? We are being FORCED to accept one of these? I'm voting: NONE OF THESE!


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 12:20 p.m.

Brad And what is the city basing its decision on? Where did they ask for input?


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 12:07 p.m.

We are being forced to accept the city's boneheaded decision to continue on with spending $360K on this stuff.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 11:55 a.m.

You're not being forced to accept anything. The City is not basing its decision on an poll. Don't like the options, don't vote.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 11:19 a.m.

I think I'd pick local Taggers before any of the above options. But I suspect the City will pick the first option simply because it's horrifying and guaranteed to scare children and small dogs.


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 4:39 a.m.

Yes to taggers! I love the vibrant freshness and surprise.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 2:44 p.m.

Wait til a gust of wind sends that thing churning through a school bus.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 11:15 a.m.

Really horrible options.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 11:13 a.m.

I like the stone wall in the first one. That other crap can be removed later.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 1:12 p.m.



Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 12:54 p.m.

I think that the stone wall is part of the landscaping that is already built and in place.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 11:10 a.m.

As usual the only option if you don't like any is not to vote!


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 11:54 a.m.

That's right. Just like political elections.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 10:45 a.m.

You need to add "none" to the poll options. Just sayin'...


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 10:14 a.m.

If I voted it would be 'No' for everyone, which is not an option.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 4:46 p.m.

You can vote each piece as "awful" by clicking on the stars above each picture. I know it isn't the same as a "no" but is will hopefully illustrate how much everyone dislikes these concepts.