Tell Roscoe City Council to allow our Bernie Yard Art to remain OUTSIDE and On Display!

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Tell Roscoe City Council to allow our Bernie Yard Art to remain OUTSIDE and On Display!

This petition made change with 140 supporters!
Linda Roesch started this petition to Roscoe City Council

My name is Linda Roesch.  I am a professional artist residing in Roscoe, South Dakota. 

In 2016, I painted an old sofa in support of Senator Bernie Sanders' Presidential campaign and put it on display in the front yard of the house I share with my brother - he is the homeowner.  The art sofa has remained in this spot since then; it has faded a bit but it's condition has remained basically unchanged aside from an update to read "Bernie 2020" rather than 2016.

Our unique art piece has attracted a lot of attention over the last two years, and has become a bit of a 'thing' in our very small town.  Visitors still stop a few times per month for a photo op; it's been mentioned in various local newspapers; and the art piece was recently listed as an official attraction on RoadsideAmerica.com.  https://www.roadsideamerica.com/search/tip

Our problem: an outsourced code enforcement officer that is contracted by the city decided a few months ago that the Art Piece is 'trash'.  He says it is a code violation to leave it out in our yard, and cites a city ordinance stating that furniture must be stored inside.  The city is threatening to haul our art piece to the dump if we don't move it indoors.

This art piece was meant to be seen, and storing it inside defeats it's purpose(s):  to provoke conversation and to provide a different type of yard decoration that adds variety to our community. 

City Council doesn't want to acknowledge that Art is not "furniture" and is subject to different rules than "furniture."  While the Bernie Art Piece was originally made from a sofa, it's not serving that purpose anymore.  It is yard art; more like a sculpture now.

One concern mentioned by several members on City Council was that the Art Piece still has cushions and stuffing, so rodents could crawl inside.  There is also the understanding that a sofa will deteriorate under extreme South Dakota weather conditions.  I share these same concerns.  My brother and I have been diligent about checking under the sofa, lifting it up occasionally, etc. to make sure that it is still structurally sound and to make sure that nothing is living under there.  There are dogs in the neighborhood that keep rodents at bay; we also have three cats in our house.  I used to see quite a few feral cats in the neighborhood, but they seem to have mysteriously disappeared over the summer....  (My brother and I have joked that most of these concerns could be eliminated by pumping the Art Piece full of concrete, but rest assured we probably won't take things that far.)

My argument is this:  At the point when the Art Piece starts to show signs of breaking down, or starts to show signs that rodents might be living there, it will be disposed of.  For now, the Art Piece is in basically the same condition as it was when we initially put it on display, and I believe it should be allowed to run out it's natural life course.  It has been on display for two years already; there seems no explicit reason why it should be considered trash and cited as a code violation now.

Many folks from my community have expressed support for the Bernie Art Piece, privately and publicly.  Many of these supporters were not necessarily fans of Bernie Sanders, his campaign, or his policies.  I am so proud of the people in my little town (and beyond) for standing up for Art and Free Speech.  If nothing else, this has opened up a dialogue about Art in a part of the world where art is not usually part of the conversation.  Art doesn't have to be beautiful, and it doesn't have to please everyone.  Our Art Piece is not offensive in any way....it portrays a positive message and encourages thought and dialogue.  Furthermore, leaving it on display shows that our town is welcoming, and reflects the diversity in our community.  Finally, the Bernie Art Piece gives people a reason to stop in Roscoe (and a chance to support our local businesses) when they otherwise might just drive by. 

My brother and I attended a City Council meeting on October 1 and we were granted an extension on our appeal.  We now have until October 15 to convince someone on City Council that 1) this is an Art Piece, not "furniture" 2) it does not pose a public safety threat or health concern 3) it is actually beneficial to the community to allow the art piece to stand.  I am hoping to garner support through this change.org campaign. 

Thank you to everyone who has expressed positivity for the Art Piece.... I am honored, humbled, and proud to be among you.  I have received overwhelming support for our decoration.... naturally there are a few who don't like the Art Piece, but for the most part, the community seems to have accepted it.... nay, welcomed it, as a cool attraction to our tiny town.  Thank you.

* * *I want to add that I am very open to 'rehoming' the Bernie Art Piece.  While I would like to see it stay on display right where it stands in Roscoe, I will be moving out of that town within the next year and I'm currently serving as an Artist in Residence in another state entirely......... maybe this work of art should continue in another place as well?  If you have a place where this Art Piece could be on display until it has run it's natural life course, I would love to hear from you!  You can contact me through my website - sketchingspot.com. * * *

 Read more about public art here:  https://www.associationforpublicart.org/what-is-public-art/

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