Thursday, April 2, 2009

This is the Time for Action

We have learned that on Monday of this week, staff of the Pasadena Planning and Development Department recommended to the Pasadena City Council that any further consideration of the Kuhn/Oppenheim sculptures at the Convention Center be put on hold until after a so-called "Citywide Public Art Plan" can be developed.

While a debate about future public art policy in Pasadena may be a good idea, the Pasadena Arts Council (PAC) strongly disagrees with the sudden creation and prioritizing of such an action at this time, uinderstanding that its primary effect will be to halt the democratic process presently moving forward regarding the Arts & Culture Commission's selection of Kuhn/Oppenheim sculptures for the Pasadena Center Plaza.

Two things may happen now:

1. The City Council may vote at its meeting this Monday to adopt the staff recommendation that the "Citywide Public Art Plan" usurp any further discussion of Kuhn/Oppenheim. We will have a clue about this when the Council publishes its agenda, by 5:30 on Friday.

2. Depending on what City Council does Monday, the Arts & Culture Commission may finally have its first meeting with the PCOC (Pasadena Center Operating Company, which opposes any sculpture on the plaza) to discuss Kuhn/Oppenheim on Tuesday, April 7.


PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS THE TIME FOR ACTION! The art community must show up in force at one or both of these meetings -- MONDAY and/or TUESDAY -- to let City officials know that THE ARTS HAVE A VOICE IN PASADENA! YOU ARE NEEDED!



  1. Get a grip! Most regular people are worried about having enough money to pay the mortgage, and there are children and old ladies sleeping on the street. If you have time to fret over this issue, you have way too much wealth and way too much time on your hands. Wake up!

  2. Dear "get a grip" and "well stated:" I'm trying to understand your statement. This 1% money raised from the developer of the Civic Center expansion is earmarked for spending on the arts. Is it your position that the City's Cultural Affairs Division, the City Council-appointed Pasadena citizens serving on the Arts and Culture Commission, the privately-funded Pasadena Arts Council, and regular-people individuals in our community who are artists or supporters of the arts, should disband their organizations and personal interests and divert their energies only toward providing social services to the homeless?

    I'm just unclear as to what you're saying. Good people can disagree on any matter of subjects, be it the arts, planting trees, urban development, political philosophies, religious beliefs, social priorities, or whatever. Is it your view that when such debates arise in a society, all monies represented by the participant's interests should instead be funneled to help people pay their mortgages?

    Is it your position that all private and taxpayer money not focused on mortgage bail-out or alleviating homelessness is frivolous, or that the arts are indulgences that no imperfect society should tolerate? I'm a strong supporter of the present Democratic priorities in Washington, but what re you guys? Communists?

  3. Neither arts nor trees are frivolous, but the level of this debate, meaning the recriminations, vitriol and hysteria, is. This is not the final showdown between democracy and tyranny.

  4. So, are you agreeing with "Get a grip," or disagreeing? It sounds like you disagree with his tone, but I can't tell. I tend to hold the same view as you, otherwise. The recriminations from Pasadena Heritage and PCOC, their obsession over "lines of sight" blockages that any sensible person can plainly see do not exist, are based in a vitriolic overreaction to anything visually progressive in our city. Were it not for their hysteria that initiated this whole debate, the three-years work of many dedicated people would be moving forward toward installation of wonderful works of public art, instead of being bogged down in this annoying distraction.

  5. Regular Person. Scratch the surface and out comes your enemies list. That is why most "real" regular persons (as opposed to partisan regular persons) are tired of the whole thing. This is not about whether there should be arts or arts organizations. Of course there should be. This is about a small, narrow issue and nothing more. Anger is not a good thing to hold onto. Let it go.

  6. The Pasadena Arts Council has hosted this blog to provide information and reasoned debate about a matter of concern to all in the Pasadena art community. It will be helpful if the conversation is kept civil and constructive. I invite representatives of the PCOC and Pasadena Heritage to post here their position on sculpture at the Civic Center plaza.

    Personally, I admire the two works recommended by the Arts & Culture Commission, and despite all that has transpired, have yet to hear a clear explanation of why the PCOC decided so late in the game to ban any outside artwork on the plaza, or why Pasadena Heritage has invoked obstructions to the Central Corridor view as an issue regarding sculptures that do not obstruct such a view.

    As Anonymous 8:48 said, this is not frivolous. This forum can be a place for persons on both sides to come together in calm discourse and understanding. I encourage the participation of all.

    Stephen Nowlin
    Board President,
    Pasadena Arts Council