The eye of the beholder

In a community that prides itself on the local art scene, why is it that public art ruffles so many feathers in Nelson?

In a community that prides itself on the local art scene, why is it that public art ruffles so many feathers?

In today’s paper you will read about city council finally approving a home for the Heron’s Landing sculpture. The resolve was more than 10 months in the making, and don’t be surprised if we have not heard the last of it.

With the eye of the beholder being so important when it comes to art, it’s important to be confident about adding a permanent feature to our community like Heron’s Landing. In the case of the heron sculpture, city council certainly took their time.

To help guide council in these decisions, the city has an Art in Public Places Policy that is quite extensive in its language. There is also the Cultural Development Commission that helps advise and takes on public projects of its own. Both recent additions to City Hall decision making on public art have done a great job in helping quell uproar over visual enhancements in our community.

Heron’s Landing caused minor controversy, but it was more about location than anything else. There are other recent public art projects  that have fit seamlessly into the scheme of our town.

The new railing at the Gyro lookout was a project spearheaded by the cultural commission. It faced pretty much zero pushback and is now a nice addition to a fantastic view of the city.

Other projects in the works include the railing on the new bridge at the foot of Baker Street and the electrical box paintings in the backalleys. Both will bring new life to scenes of the otherwise ordinary.

Another important public art development is the city’s mural policy. The final touches are being put on the paperwork and soon those looking to enhance empty spaces will have well thought out guidlines.

Art is subjective and will never be without controversy. Over the last few years, city council and numerous volunteers have pounded out policy we now see working to better our community. For that, we say thanks.