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THE MEANS FOR DEVELOPING URBAN SCALE, EVEN IN SMALL COMMUNITIES

 

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I suppose I’ve always been interested in the role that public art performs in the creation of urban character even in small communities.  I used to take my graduate urban design students into the center of Shorewood and show the need for urban scale and the means by which it could be accomplished.

 

Ten meters or about 30-40 feet in height is the beginning of one element of urban scale.  Another has to do with the narrowness of the street itself.  Narrow streets in Europe and in other countries are the result of ancient development patterns.  Our auto culture will never permit that.

 

It was my idea to accomplish this appearance of urban scale through the development of modern abstract sculptures appropriately spaced as close to the curb as possible as this would present a visual appearance of height and narrowness of street width.

 

I’ve proceeded to do this by developing small scale models which could be converted into 30-40 feet three-dimensional structures.  That is, these structures couldn’t be flat in appearance as stage backdrops however.  They must be sculptured solid abstract urban tres.  There are many artistic techniques for doing this.

 

My material is stainless steel, strong in structure but designed for delicateness.  The artist shouldn’t indicate his goal, for one of the criticisms will become his failure to accomplish his own set goal.  I shouldn’t even explain the purpose or scale as elements of the goal. 

 

Now that I can and am designing these urban trees, expensive in their fabrication, I must find donors who will pay for them even before they are built and their location or setting agreed upon. 

 

In the end, if I cannot find another way I would have to become a politician/city planner.  But non-public artist who already are politicians prefer to fill that role.

 

What to do?  Cultivate donors who would give urban character to the center of Shorewood and for economic purpose.  Therefore, this may be the last you might hear of me on this subject.  I might have to find my expression only in my small scale models.

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