Tuesday, June 1,2010
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Visiting artist criticizes
bureaucracy in public art
looks to expedite art
By TOREHAN SHARMAN
For the Daily
Though Ann Arbor is adorned
with sculptures and other art install-
ments, one artist said the process of
displaying sculptures is complicated
by the red tape put up by the Univer-
sity, the City of Ann Arbor and the
State of Michigan.
William Dennisuk, a visiting art-
ist at the School of Art & Design,
installed a public sculpture last week
for display in Gallup Park but said he
has had to contend with the bureau-
cracy of local regulatory committees
for the past few months to keep his
From Page 1
also meat and dairy CSA programs,
according to a CSA affiliated web-
Wessel Walker praised the CSA sys-
tem for offering people quality food at
"(Produce from CSA) is healthy, it
comes from local sources, it's grown
and made by people who cared and put
a lot of love and excitement into their
work, and it's super convenient," she
said. "It's really easy, you don't have to
scrub the dirt off the carrots because
we do that for you."
Members of Harvest Kitchen auto-
matically become members of the
Community Farm and receive a CSA-
style supply of fresh fruits and vegeta-
bles in addition to weekly meals from
Wessel Walker and her eight-person
Last winter, Wessel Walker part-
nered up with Rena Basch of Loca-
vorious, a frozen food CSA that now
provides Harvest Kitchen with fresh
produce year-round, and Kris Hirth
of the Old Pine Farm meat CSA. The
new omnivore option made possible
through Old Pine Farm was very suc-
cessful in its first season, according to
Wessel Walker said she gets most of
her recipe ideas from her large collec-
tion of cookbooks and over the years
has developed a sense for what types
of recipes will be successful.
He said Ann Arbor's strict laws
and regulations make it very difficult
for artists to create and introduce
their works to the public.
"It took some time to figure out
who the people were that I was sup-
posed to talk to," Dennisuk "Even
when you get all your ducks in a row
you would still have to have a three-
to-four-month period before you got
something like this off the ground."
The External Elements Design
Review Committee for the City of
Ann Arbor and the University's
Presidential Advisory Committee
for Public Art are two organizations,
Dennisuk said, that have stymied the
progress of artists looking to display
their work publicly.
The Presidential Advisory Com-
mittee for Public Art was created to
monitor and regulate public works of
"This is (Harvest Kitchen's) fourth
summer, (and) I feel like I've gotten
more and more of a sense what's going
to be good and what's not going to be
good and what people are going to
like," she said.
The amount of food Harvest Kitch-
en provides its members varies over
the course of the season, Wessel Walk-
er said. Meals become progressively
larger over the course of the summer,
starting in June. She added that it is
difficult to estimate the longevity of
a share, which depends on how mem-
bers ration food.
CSA food is most plentiful in August
and September, Wessel Walker said.
During a normal week last Sep-
tember, members received two
quarts of vegetable chili, one cup
of basil pesto, one quart of eggplant
dumplings, two quarts of coleslaw
with apples, one quart of greens in
peanut sauce, one gallon of salad and
their choice of either a watermelon
or a cantaloupe.
Last week, members who signed up
early for the June-November summer
season received a special preview of
this year's provisions - a seven-inch
quiche, one quart of spinach salad
with dressing and one cup of sour
cream and onion dip.
"It's only a good deal if you eat
everything," she said. "If you are
paying this money up front and then
letting the vegetables rot in your
refrigerator, it's a waste of money."
In 2007, Harvest Kitchen sold
seven shares. This summer, there are
art by presenting a piece of work to
the public, according to its website.
The Presidential Advisory Commit-
tee works in conjunction with the
EEDRC to provide long-term solu-
tions for public art displays.
Dennisuk added he has been in
talks with the EEDRC and the Presi-
dential Advisory Committee for Pub-
lic Art committees to help streamline
the process for giving artists and
sculptors clearance to continue with
"I heard of artists who have come
and tried to do short term things here
and they just haven't because of all
the red tape and bureaucracy," Den-
In Finland - where he currently
lives - Dennisuk said there are fewer
restrictions on putting up public art
installments. He said he would only
need to get clearance from the town
35 shares available with 12 still up for
The price of a whole six month
share, including the price of the farm
share, is 2,400 dollars for the vegetar-
ian option and 2,700 dollars for the
omnivore option. Members can also
opt for a half share, which Wessel
Walker said she recommends for indi-
vidual customers or couples.
Last Friday, Mark Schrupp stopped
by the Harvest Kitchen location on
Geddes Avenue near Oxford Housing
to pick up his share. He said he and his
family had already been members of
the Community Farm, but they decid-
ed to try Harvest Kitchen a couple of
years ago because it offered a conve-
nient way to enjoy local ingredients.
Wessel Walker admitted that Har-
vest Kitchen isn't for everyone, but
after Shrupp left the kitchen with his
food, she said "that's one family that it
really works for."
A membership to Harvest Kitchen
might be too expensive for a student
or someone with a tight budget, but
according to Wessel Walker, if the
other option is either eating out or at
a hot food bar like the one at the Peo-
ple's Food Co-op in Kerrytown, Har-
vest Kitchen is "at least comparable, if
not less expensive in the end."
Wessel Walker said one gradu-
ate student at the University, who
debated joining Harvest Kitchen for a
long time, recently decided to go for it
because she was workingso much that
she simply didn't have the energy to
cook for herself.
Dennisuk has installed three sculptures for public display in Ann Arbor.
architect and the town gardener, and
by that evening, his sculpture would
be up for display.
Dennisuk added that he hopes to
take what he learned about regula-
tory committees in displaying pub-
lic wart in Ann Arbor and pass it on
to students in the School of Art &
"(The visiting artist) would take
people through the process, and they
See SCULPTURE, Page 8
Mary Wessel Walker gives food to Harvest Kitchen member Mark Schrupp.
"I did have the impression that it
was going to be a budget stretch for
her, but hopefully (it was) worth it,"
Looking towards the future of Har-
vest Kitchen, Wessel Walker said that
she's not interested in providing food
to institutions like the University din-
ing halls or the University hospital,
but she hopes to reach more individu-
als and families.
Wessel Walker added that she is
considering creating a retail line simi-
lar to the hot food bar at the People's
Food Co-op to allow people to enjoy
meals made with local food without
having to take the "leap of faith" that
comes with a six-month membership.