Investing in the future of Paducah and the Floodwall Mural Controversy-
Many people who are being petitioned by the “Paducah Arts Community” are unaware of the reality involved in the “floodwall mural controversy.” There is an immense desire to have the maintenance contract given to a local artist for two reasons: 1.) They feel that the project should be maintained by a local artist in order to support the growing arts community in Paducah. 2.) There is a local artist willing to do the work for less than what Herb Roe, the current muralist, has quoted.
However what most of these people do not know, is that the artist who is attempting to underbid Mr. Roe, is a former assistant of his who has not been completely honest about her qualifications in regards to the murals. First of all, the lack of integrity cannot be ignored. While this former assistant has had experience working on the murals, this does not confirm that she is qualified to maintain them. She is not endorsed by Robert Dafford, the original artist of the murals and owner of the copyrighted images; nor by Herb Roe one of the original artists who executed the initial paintings, and has been maintaining them for the last 20 years.
In trying economic times, we can all appreciate an individuals desire to find work, especially an artist! However for one artist to attempt to underbid her former employer and fellow artist, to take over their work, is shocking. It is utterly disrespectful for one artist to attempt to restore and maintain the work of another artist, when the originals artists are still alive and able to manage this responsibility themselves. It would be like one of Michaelangelo’s students offering to take over the Sistine Chapel project, while he was still alive, well and working on it!
The other offense is in the claim that Herb Roe is not a local artist, which is simply not true. Herb Roe has been coming to Paducah to work for the last 20 years. He has a daughter that attends school in Paducah. When he is staying in town he always supports the local businesses and creative community events. He has spent a substantial amount of his life and his earning here in Paducah; as well as contributing to one of the most impressive and powerful tourist attractions in this town. In fact Mr. Roe has such an authentic desire to support Paducah and its future, that he hired a Paducah School of Art and Design student as his new assistant last summer.
This new assistant is a local student artist, who is being given an incredible opportunity to learn and build their resume with this apprenticeship; as well as earn money to support their educational goals. This proves that Herb Roe is absolutely supportive of the local arts community; as he could have very easily hired someone with more experience in the field. Instead, he was eager to reach out to the new generation of local Paducah artists who crave substantial opportunities to apply what they are learning at the Paducah School of Art and Design; in order to build their future careers and contribute to their community.
Therefore if people are passionate about the idea of keeping the project and its funds local... They should be excited to hear that a portion of this funding is being paid to one of their rising local art students, who hopes to one day be a major contributor to the Paducah Arts Community. However if this project is handed over to the artist who is currently underbidding Mr. Roe; the funds will be invested in an already established part of the local creative community; rather than allowing the future generations of local artistic talent to thrive. If Paducah wants its local arts community to survive, as well as the community as a whole; it must be willing to invest in the future generations who are fighting to create a foundation for their success.
What is the point in investing the millions of dollars it cost to expand the Paducah School of Art and Design, if we are not going to offer our talented students the chance to engage their education and apply it professionally? At the very least I would like to have the community support Herb Roe and his local apprentice, to maintain their contract for this summer. Both Herb Roe and his local apprentice had already arranged their schedule around this project a year ago. The news of this possible transfer of the project was not divulged to them in a responsible, timely or professional manner. Herb Roe will be losing a crucial part of his annual income and his local apprentice will also be losing funding that was to be applied to their continuing education at the Paducah School of Art and Design. Also I would like to have the community support the possibility of having the local art student continue their apprenticeship with Mr. Roe for the necessary amount of time, in order to pursue the suggested idea of eventually transferring the project over to a local artist. I hope you will consider the current allotted funding, as investment in the future of Paducah; because that is the truth.
Thank you for your time, attention and support of Paducah’s thriving future!