Is It Art?
"I showed them the art in Ann Arbor, the small collection we have. I showed them the downtown. I showed them the university. I showed them examples of neighborhoods." And Miller and engineer Mike Nearing showed them their worksite: the paired bridges that carry Stadium over State Street and the Ann Arbor Railroad. "They walked under it, over it," Miller recalls. "I remember a lot of people saying how cold it was."
The task force also solicited ideas from the public--but didn't get much of a response. "It was a huge disappointment to me that there were so few people who actually attended the artists' meet-and-greet at the [Burns Park] senior center," Leff says. "We have a Google email neighborhood group, close to 400 email names, and I would send this out to everyone, and I think maybe a couple of people from my neighborhood came. And we're at ground zero!"
That changed in June. When the four artists returned to present their concepts, the online comment boards lit up. "It's just like everything on annarbor.com," says Leff. "Ninety-five percent of the comments were negative. And the people who are either neutral or have something positive to say don't respond."
But even art commissioner John Kotarski wasn't impressed with all of the proposals. "Some of these artists could have spent a little more time," he says. "I'm underwhelmed."