Restore Rochester's Airport Art
WE RECOMMEND that the County Executive demonstrate support for the arts in the community by restoring the Airport Projects selected by the Monroe County Public Art Committee in two competitions, in 1990 and 1991. The artists had been invited to design works that present a “sense of place,” a reference to western New York’s local history, industry, culture, and natural resources, that would be paid for with 1% of construction funds. Half of those projects are now gone.
The first competition selected Bill Stewart's "The Council" and Wendell Castle's "Lunar Eclipse" and were paid for with funds approved by the Monroe County Legislature, although by just one vote.
The 2nd round competition contracts for Peter McGrain's "Stained Glass Window", Richard Margolis "Rochester Landmarks Photographs", Ruth Manning's "Dixie Wig Tapestry”, Susan Rowley's "Airborne Stabile", and Nancy Jurs' ceramic "Triad" were rejected because the County Conservative Party refused to endorse any legislator, Republican or Democrat, who approved the contracts. There was a huge outcry and local arts patrons began raising the funds privately. After about two years they had raised the required $186.000, so the projects were funded and installed.
A plaque listing the Airport Art Contributors was installed and, although half of the projects have been removed, the plaque is still exhibited. The result is that our airport has hidden away many of the outstanding projects and replaced them with advertising murals and 3rd rate exhibits. Our airport, the gateway to the community, presents visitors with boring and forgettable corporate displays.
At minimum, Monroe County should demonstrate appreciation of the arts and creativity, and improve the impression presented to visitors, by restoring the airport public art projects already paid for by the community.
There should be a City/County Public Art commission to plan, coordinate and encourage art in public places.
1% of all future construction funds should be dedicated to the commission and installation of public art in Rochester and Monroe County
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