Letters to the Editor: Public art and the super rich

Letters to the Editor: Public art and the super rich

February 25th, 2011 in Opinion Letters

Public art gives more in return

Is the debate around public funds for public art about the dollars the city spends or is it about the return on investment?

When I first considered moving to Chattanooga, numerous people in North Carolina spoke very positively of the city, describing it as having a "great energy." In fact, the city described itself as "One of the 50 Best Places to Live" (National Geographic) on its website. Upon arriving, I could see why so many thought so highly of the city; Chattanooga felt dynamic, positive and alive. Whether called a "can do attitude," "creative potential," or an "entrepreneurial spirit," there is an intangible, but very real creative energy that fills the air here.

What does public art have to do with this dynamic quality that so many other cities envy? Art articulates the spirit of the city. It's a primary way we tell others we are indeed a great place to live and that we embrace visionary, creative potential. It is this "telling" of ourselves that draws others to us -- tourists and industry alike. The private investors for the public art fund understand this; it's why they invest. Is this return on investment worth it to the city as well?

ANNE WILSON

Executive Director

Association for Visual Arts

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Things are going to get much worse

Democracy in America is at an end. The oligarchy of the super rich have taken control of this country, and they will not let go until the working people in this country take to the streets as they are doing in Wisconsin, Libya, Egypt and Yemen.

The bottom 80 percent of the wage earners in this country have not seen an annual wage increase since Reagan was president. The bottom 80 percent of workers lose collectively $743 billion each year. Conversely the top 1 percent gains $673 billion. This money gained by the top 1 percent comes almost entirely from the bottom 80 percent.

There are ways to fix the economy in America so that everybody would prosper, but it will never happen with the setup we have with the oligarchs. The program that the Republicans are preparing now in the House is a guarantee that the country will be pressed into an economic depression greater than the calamity of the 1930s.

Some of you think things are bad now -- just wait a few months -- it is going to get much worse.

WILLIAM M. BETTS