"Reason is always a kind of brute force; those who appeal to the head rather than the heart, however pallid and polite, are necessarily men of violence. We speak of 'touching' a man's heart, but we can do nothing to his head but hit it." --G.K. Chesterton

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Public art project nears completion

Illustration of how Blake Williams' work (affixed to column) will look. 
You might remember that, almost 10 months ago now, I raised some concerns about what sort of art might come from a community-engagement project designed to promote multiculturalism while also producing a work of art for display in the new City Centre branch of the Coquitlam Public Library. Here's a link to one of the stories about my concerns. Well, on Monday evening, council will be receiving a report about the completion of the project, carried out by artist Blake Williams after extensive community collaboration, and will be asked to approve its installation. And, so, you might be wondering what I think about the work? Specifically, will I be voting to approve the installation of The Welcome Project - Migration in the library. My answer: Yes.

I've made some notes about my reason for doing so, and I'll share them with you here:

Lenses through which The Welcome Project – Migration might be judged.

Does it meet the goals of 2007 Multiculturalism Strategic Plan? That is, does it promote and communicate Coquitlam’s cultural diversity to the public, and connect with the city's diverse community to bridge the gap between individual ethnic communities and the community at large? YES. See last paragraph on page two of report for how good it made the community participants feel.

Is it Art? The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture. Meet this description? YES

Is it decorative? Serving to make something look more attractive; ornamental. Meet this description? YES.

Does it demonstrate skill and craftmanship? YES.

Is it offensive? That is, harmful or injurious. 2. likely to irritate or offend. Meet this description? NO.

Is it inspired, groundbreaking, breathtakingly original? Not really.

on the other hand....

Is it banal or pap? That is, so lacking in originality as to be obvious and boring. Meet this description? NO. It’s actually somewhat clever.

Is it propaganda? Information, esp. of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view. Meet this description? Somewhat YES, insofar as it is, by definition, being used to celebrate multiculturalism and bring people together. But it is not “biased or misleading.”

Ultimate question:
Is it great art of the sort that tourists will go out of their way to view? NO.

Did it fulfill the project’s community-engagement and multiculturalism-enhancing intentions, while adding a decorative and topical work of art to our new City Centre Library? YES 

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