Public Art Commission needs to speak up

To the Editor:

I served on the Waynesville Public Art Commission from 2006 until March of 2011. Public art was a brand new commission at the time, tasked with not only starting a public art collection for the town of Waynesville but raising private funds to purchase the art, setting up all procedures for soliciting proposals from artists, choosing the location and overseeing the installation of the artworks, and writing the manual for the care of the art collection and procedures for de-accession of artworks, either donated or purchased.

Part of all this background work was also establishing a mission statement to guide the procurement of the art: The mission of the Waynesville Public Art Commission is to engage the community and enrich public spaces through original art that celebrates Waynesville’s unique historic, cultural, natural and human resources.

The members of the commission worked for months on the wording of this mission statement with the goal of insuring that Waynesville’s public art collection would be appropriate to an Appalachian mountain community.

I see that this mission statement is still posted on the Town of Waynesville’s website. I respectfully submit a request to the current Public Art Commission members for an explanation as to how the sculpture titled “La Femme” fits the mission statement. Or, has the mission statement been changed?

I can accept the inclusion of Bill Eleazer’s “Chasing Tadpoles” into the collection. As a long-time art teacher at Tuscola High School, Mr. Eleazer had a long association with the community and chasing tadpoles is an activity that can occur right in the middle of town down in Frog Level. Or in Vance Street Park which would be a most appropriate location for this piece.

But a giant, modernistic bust of a woman titled “La Femme”?

I think an explanation is in order.

Kaaren Stoner

Iron Duff

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