Vol. 8, No. 13
March 30-April 5, 2000
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Art Should Settle Down in Annapolis

We’re tickled pink, lavender and hyacinth blue that the Annapolis City Council is moving toward making public art a regular item in the city budget.

Why does our pleasure appear in so many colors? Art imitates life, which spring has painted in full living color.

Our Technicolor delight is the work of city Alderwoman Ellen Moyer (Ward 8), whose proposed ordinance (05200) would create a revolving loan fund to bring art into the life of the city. The fund could be used for both indoor and outdoor art.

At Bay Weekly, we’ve long championed the notion that our communities have a duty to live up to the standards set by Mother Nature. Those standards are especially high for the region defined by Chesapeake Bay. For Mother Nature has blessed Chesapeake Country’s generations with not only the resources of abundant life but also beauty.

So we count art as one of the public services we the people empower our governments to provide for our communities. In the words of one of the citizens testifying at the city council public hearing on Moyer’s bill this week, this one’s a “no brainer.”

Most everybody speaking at the hearing agreed, though many explained their support in loftier terms.
The sum likely to come from Moyer’s suggested funding source — two percent of the fees collected by the city Bureau of Inspections and Permits — is small. Ten thousand dollars a year, as one estimate suggests, isn’t going to buy much art. So the city’s initial investment should be thought of as seed money. A lot can grow from a properly planted $10,000.

On just how it might be planted, we expect plenty of good ideas to come from the arts community that turned out at city council chambers to speak on behalf of the proposed ordinance. Offering support were Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, First Night Annapolis, the Kunta Kinte Foundation, the African American organization Respect and the committee organizing the Westgate Circle design competition.

In other news on the public art front, as soon as this May, five finalists will compete to design the centerpiece of the new circle, said committee chair and local architect Robert Hammond.

If Annapolis is launching a public art movement, it’s about time. As we’ve written before, Annapolis has been missing the boat on public art. In many other capital cities — both grand ones like Washington, D.C. and Paris and ones with fewer natural charms and cultural advantages than our own — Art is a fellow you get to know, and like, while you’re going about your everyday business.

Now if only we could get his country cousins to pay a visit to Anne Arundel and Calvert counties. Like so many others who visit, Art’s country cousins might be so taken with Chesapeake Country that they stay on.

Copyright 2000
Bay Weekly