Painting a picture
By Jenn Watt
May 2, 2017
Discussion at last week’s Dysart council meeting about hanging art in council chambers has raised the ire of many in the community. Facebook hosted much of the discussion, with commenters expressing dismay that council would question a proposal to bring art into the township office for the municipality’s 150th birthday.
We’re not talking about controversial art here. This is art created by local people and is part of a short-term project by the arts council. It is unlikely that the pieces selected for the council chambers would offend those sitting in the room.
“Our goal is to display artistic works that are representative of the municipality at various public and business locations throughout our community. The selected artwork will be on display from June 26 through Oct. 10. Each piece will be accompanied by a description of how the work relates to the area, an artist’s biography, and a QR code that will enable viewers to access additional information, including a map of all the participating venues, via their smartphones,” arts council representatives Greg Gillespie and Kate Butler wrote to council.
As someone who has spent many hours in these meetings, I appreciate those places that feature artwork I can examine while boards and councils tend to administrative items.
The HHHS boardrooms have large works of art created locally and they are a pleasure to take in. One of them, like a Rorschach test, gives me something to consider during breaks between meetings, and gives the otherwise bland room a bit of life.
While conversation at council last week questioned the need for art in council chambers, that wasn’t the decision of council. They decided to defer the decision until a later meeting and I think public sentiment will help dictate where they go from here.
It is clear that the public wants its government to support the arts in all ways possible and one of those ways is symbolically, through hanging pieces in municipal buildings.
It is a fine idea – one that is inexpensive to conduct and brings only benefit to all who participate.
Members of the public, and of council, can see what area artists have to offer, the ambiance will be improved and the artists themselves will have a chance to show off their incredible talents.
As was pointed out last week, several businesses have already pioneered this practice. Council should get on board. It paints a beautiful picture of our community.