February 19 was a busy night. The meeting went on until past midnight. The last big decision that was made was to approve a large art sculpture at the corner of Stevenson and Paseo Padre.
The work is named "Unity" and will be designed and constructed by renowned artist Bruce Beasly. A rendition of what the work will look like when finished is below.
There were two main reasons I joined with my other Councilmembers in voting unanimously for this.
First, the Art Review Board has been working on this project for a couple of years now. They unanimously approved this. I feel that if we are going to have commissions to work on specific tasks, we should respect the time and energy that they put into their efforts. This is not just out of courtesy. These commissions are often experts in the commission's purview and, unlike City Council, these commissions can spend the time needed to thoroughly study an issue.
Secondly, I wanted to see something get done. The alternative was that we wait until the Downtown project is well enough along to use these funds for public art in that area. It may be a while before that happens. And when we do see development in the Downtown area, we will be receiving additional funding for public art there.
Some people have criticized this decision as saying the money could have been used elsewhere such as paving our streets. Actually, these funds are specifically set aside for public art.