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November 10, 2011 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2011-11-10

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The Michigan Daily - michiganda
PUBLIC ART
From Page 1B
In many ways, AAPAC is lim-
ited by the City Council in what
it can do. Multiple voices are
involved in every step, from brain-
storming to deciding where to put
a piece. City Council Liaison Tony
Derezinski described the slow
process - coming up with an idea
and then waiting for the idea to
meet the city's criteria of "careful,
and very prudent" before being
unveiled.
The reactions to the Percent
for Public Art program have been
mixed. AnnArbor.com posted
an article in September 2011 that
quoted various council members
criticizing the program for only
creating two art pieces in four
years. Some members even ques-
tioned the value of the Percent
Program. A number of random
commenters echoed similar senti-
ments, bemoaning the uselessness
of public art.
Tucker believes public funding
for artis just as important as fund-
ing for other societal services.
"Why don't we recognize that
artists are as important to the
fabric of our community as any
firefighter, police, teacher or con-
struction worker?" Tucker said.
"My guess is that each of us has at
one time or another been deeply
moved by a poem, a theatrical
performance or perhaps an amaz-
ing concert. Why do we always
take this for granted? Is it simply
because we don't understand the
time, expense, talent, education
and dedication required to bring a
piece of artwork to life?"
Tucker has claimed a vote for
" public art is a vote for all arts, and
that it shouldn't be viewed as an
extra expense. It is a necessary
"cultural value" that we as a town
have deemed important enough
to invest in. He added that Ann
Arbor as a whole must value art
and that a few anonymous com-
mentators do not represent the
voice of the entire city.
Tucker also said that a city that
values art as much as Ann Arbor
does shouldn't censor, but instead
value, all kinds of creative expres-
sion.
"To (censor art) is to cut off our
own heads," he said.
Derezinski also works to com-
batthe manyrulesgoverningwhat
public art pieces can be created.
He recognizes the pull public art
can have on creating economic
prosperity for Ann Arbor and to
retain the city's youth population.
"We have to find other funds
to keep the homeless in warm
places and other very needy proj-
ects, but the art money is a trying
thing in tough times," Derezinski
said. "Here you really are defin-
ing what you are and we can't
give up our core nature of being
both a compassionate city but
also a city that has a strong devo-
tion to the arts. I think those
restrictions were wisely put in so
we wouldn't diminish our efforts
given the twists and turns of the
economy."
But it doesn't have to be a zero-

sum game, in which the commu-
nity's decision to create public
artwork will cause other aspects
of city governance to suffer.
"It's more helpful to take a
long-term look at public art," Gen-
dron said. "Look at the parks - it

aily.com

Thursday, November 10, 2011 - 3B

Hairy situation

One percent of the funds from every Ann Arbor public works project are legally required to go toward public art.

enhan
draws
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to gatl
Eve
undou
impac
landsc
comm
about
fiti All
across
Huron
The
public
that m
Acct
cle in
Ann
plans
graffit
ordina
owner
within
face fi
But
ist An
Shade
depen
he sta
neighb
art ca:
world,
leries.
defini
bles tE
who d
"At

ces our quality of life, it hood, he is now in a position to put
people to the city, it creates his mark on the world.
ride and a place for people "Graffiti started out as beau-
her." tifying the neighborhoods,"
Shades said. "It wasn't anything
Blurring the lines of destruction - all of us start-
ed doing painting in our areas
n though AAPAC has because we were living in blight-
btedly had an immense ed areas. ... That's what it's all
t on the Ann Arbor cultural about, it's the bringing the neigh-
ape, not all public art is borhood up, not to bring it down."
issioned by the city. What Shades has done work in Ann
the technicolored Graf- Arbor. In 2010 he was commis-
ey? Or the murals splashed sioned by the Northern United
the bridge down by the Brewing Company to paint a
River? 200-foot mural on the back of
re is no solid definition for Grizzly Peak Brewing Company.
art; maybe it's anything Though Shades said he had to cut
roves you. through a lot of red tape in order
ording to an October arti- for the mural to be approved by
The Michigan Daily, the the city, he believes it "broke a lot
Arbor Police Department of chains" for street art in Ann
to start cracking down on Arbor. He acknowledges his type
i and will enforce the 2009 of "street art" is not as accepted
ance that states business by most people in Ann Arbor
s have to remove graffiti because it's a university town and
the proper timeframe or therefore more image-conscious.
nes. "They always say Ann Arbor is
in the case of graffiti art- very liberal," Shades said. "But it's
rtonio Agee, who goes by not - it's highly conservative."
s, whether his art is illegal Derezinski recalled when he
ds on the context. Though studied law here in the turbulent
rted by painting his Detroit '60s, a time many students con-
borhood at night, Shades's sider the height of free expres-
n now be seen all over the sion in the United States. Maybe
on the streets and in gal- there is space for all types of pub-
So where is the line when lic art in Ann Arbor - there is,
ng public art versus scrib- after all, historical precedent.
hat deface a building? And "There was a tremendous
ecides where to draw it? amount of unrest, and it was seen
some point, graffiti is only a passionate part of a community

of ideas," Derezinski said. "Ann
Arbor is a tolerant place ... it's that
weighing good, true expression
with propriety."
It isn't clear what graffiti
counts as art. Shades himself
said he has to defend his medium
against detractors.
"(The city wants) to be hip,
they want be down, and it's slow-
ly, surely coming around," Shades
said. "But it's a college town, they
want to keep it clean, pristine for
you guys. You can try to knock on
their door and if they let you in,
just tag the bathroom and get the
fuck out."
Tucker values all art, even if
he doesn't like all art equally. He
founded the annual spectacle
known as Festifools. Each spring,
Main Street becomes crowded
with giant puppets made by stu-
dents with help from community
members. Though the artwork is
temporary and shifts each year,
Tucker said the march of pup-
pets is still public art - despite
its apparent impermanence, the
event's annual nature makes it
permanent public art.
Maybe defining public art is
dangerous. Tucker said that once
we start deciding what counts as
art, we risk stifling a vital com-
ponent in our society. But if Ann
Arbor is to solidify its reputation
as a creative community, it has to
be open to discourse on how to
integrate public art into the city,
whatever "public art" may be.

Whatever grows goes,
bros. November has
hit us again and it's
time to indulge in those personal
fur coats. Thirty days to allow
your fol-
licles to run
wild, a trend
accessible
for any age
group mature
enough to
execute a
result. JULIA
Now, it SMITH-
may just EPPSTEINER
be seen as
something to
do, something to talk about and
something to crazy party about
at the end of the month, but like
the majority of trends, thereis
a story behind the madness. No
Shave November, also referred
to as Movember and Novem-
beard, was an event conceived
by a group of Australians in
1999. Five years later, Movember
Charity was established to raise
awareness for prostate cancer.
Men register online, pledging
their commitment to the public
men's health campaign by shav-
ing Oct. 31 and growing out and
grooming a mustache through-
out the month of November,
typically ending the joke with a
Dec. 1 shave. I feel more in-the-
know now that I'm aware of the
cause behind the hair, which is
sponsored by Livestrong and
sports the catchphrase, "Every
mustache makes a difference."
I would venture to guess that
the fusion between the charity's
cause and the trend works out
delightfully for men because
they come off as both caring
and manly, the ultimate con-
trast. Naturally, all one needs
to paint the perfect picture isnto
have a Golden Retriever pacing
by his side.
But this fad extends much
further than the campaign, to
college students and others.
Many participate in the intended
facial hair growth without
knowing about the campaign
behind the fun.
Personally, I'm all for the
crazes of November - cozy
sweaters, pumpkin cheesecake
and sexy beards - yes, please.
But I know that's not the case for
everyone.
There are a wide variety of
female responses to this fall
movement: In the extreme, we
have females in cheerleader sup-
port of their Movember men,
also known as Mo Sistas. There
are women, like me, who find
the scruffy look to be intriguing
and pleasing. And then there are
the many ladies who like their
men clean-shaven. Those with
participatingboyfriends, but
who are not in favor of such a
brutish style, simply refer to the

month as "No Sex November."
But the ratio of people con-
tent with the trend running its
course shifts dramatically when
it's women partaking in the fes-
tivities.
According to my Twitter-
based research, there exists
a massive group of men and
women who think it's over-the-
top-feminist and also simply
disgusting for chicks to let their
leg and armpit hair flow natu-
rally. The fact that men don't
support this impulse doesn't
make much sense to me because,
by extension, it's like they're
not supporting women who
support men. And the timeless
argument of my-body-not-yours
stands in this scenario, as well.
If you have abig problem with
the four-week movement, date a
swimmer, date a supermodel or
embrace the hair.
No shave,
no shame
November.
One of the less crude Movem-
ber-related, misogynistic tweets:
"That awkward moment when
you have to explain that No
Shave November is meant for
men, NOT women." But it's good
to know there is a slight balanc-
ing out happeningbecause of
tweets like, "I guess as part of
No Shave November I should
point out that ladies with body/
facial hair are totally, utterly glo-
rious. Rock on, lovelies."
However you look at it, it's a
social force you will encounter
in some way or another. If you
don't enjoy your colleagues let-
ting loose, you might still be one
of the many enjoying the mer-
chandise that results from it -
mustache mugs or stickers have
been popping up everywhere.
Ann Arbor has more beards
than mustaches, and I appreci-
ate that. Everyone should con-
tinue trimming, waxing, styling
and shaving - or not - as they
wish, and should welcome each
individual to do the same. It's
a fashionably cold but carnal
month for those participating
in No Shave November. But it
could be larger than that for
altruists - this particular trend
may have more longevity and
appeal than others like Insta-
gram, Ray Bans and the phrase
"Is this real life?" because of
the consciousness of a health
campaign beneath your swank
wool coat.
Smith-Eppsteiner won't tell you
if she's shaving. To bug her about
it, e-mail julialix@umich.edu.

graffiti, that's a subjective thing,"
Derezinski said. "There was a
Supreme Court justice that once
said about obscenity, 'I can't
define it but I know it when I see
it,' and you've got to give some
latitude. Some of the spontane-
ous art is very creative."
Self-proclaimed "graff artist"
Shades claims graffiti art will
always have a stigma attached to
it, but when he was growing up,
street art had nothing to do with
reckless vandalism. Shades's work
these days is still graff art, but
now people hang it above their
mantelpieces rather than just see-
ing it in the streets. First, someone
was moved by it, and then Shades
was able to make himself into a
successful artist. From his begin-
nings of tagging his neighbor-

UEDEIHoEU

ADAM GLANZMAN AND PAUL SHERMAN/Daly

Public art can include murals, sculptures and even performance art, according to LSA Prof. Mark Tucker.

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