Editorial: Art trumps rock

Published Oct 4, 2013 at 05:00AM

Art in Public Places, the group responsible for much of the public art in Bend, would like to add to the city’s collection. The non-profit group currently is interested in putting a new sculpture in downtown Bend.

But, as city councilors learned Wednesday, one doesn’t just buy a statue and plunk it down on a street corner. The proper location is important — you want the piece to be visible, for one thing — and the neighbors should be included in the planning process.

One good spot for new art downtown is the plaza at the intersection of Minnesota Avenue and Wall Street. It’s not perfect, however: The site currently is home to rocks that were a gift from the city’s sister city, Fujioka, Japan. They’ve become part of downtown. They are clambered over and provide unofficial seating for those who wish to take a brief break. They are visited by travelers from Japan.

The area, though, is likely too small for both art and rocks.

In our mind, art should trump rocks. A caveat would be if the art turned out to be a pile of rocks. Then we might change our mind.

The rocks are not pebbles, by any means, but they’re also not so large as to be impossible to move. Surely another suitable public location could be found for them, perhaps in front of City Hall or in nearby Drake Park.

The Downtown Bend Business Association wants to be included in the decision-making about rocks and art, and that makes sense. But if you have strong feelings on the art/rock battle, you should let your city councilor know.

A rt in Public Places, the group responsible for much of the public art in Bend, would like to add to the city’s collection. The nonprofit group currently is interested in putting a new sculpture in downtown Bend.

But, as city councilors learned Wednesday, one doesn’t just buy a statue and plunk it down on a street corner. The proper location is important — you want the piece to be visible, for one thing — and the neighbors should be included in the planning process.

One good spot for new art downtown is the plaza at the intersection of Minnesota Avenue and Wall Street. It’s not perfect, however: The site currently is home to rocks that were a gift from the city’s sister city, Fujioka, Japan. They’ve become part of downtown. They are clambered over and provide unofficial seating for those who wish to take a brief break. They are visited by travelers from Japan.

The area, though, is likely too small for both art and rocks.

In our mind, art should trump rocks. A caveat would be if the art turned out to be a pile of rocks. Then we might change our minds.

The rocks are not pebbles, by any means, but they’re also not so large as to be impossible to move. Surely another suitable public location could be found for them, perhaps in front of City Hall or in nearby Drake Park.

The Downtown Bend Business Association wants to be included in the decision-making about rocks and art, and that makes sense. But if you have strong feelings on the art/rock battle, you should let your city councilor know.