We are all aware that the local press needs to be provocative at times. Such was the story about $16,000 to paint our much needed public outdoor toilets. I’m not accusing our press of dishonesty but of intent to provoke readership and a local response, both good things.
I, too, am caught in their subterfuge and therefore offer my suggestion to follow our tradition and long held civic aim of promoting art in our public spaces.
It’s simple really. Let’s invite the Arts Council to find interested individuals among their membership. It could be promoted as a contest in much the same way that banners are selected to hang on light posts. Remember these buildings are public art space. Should it be that the contest holds no appeal for the elder members of the arts community, I’m certain that our teenage artists can produce something interesting and artistic. I would be very surprised if one or more secondary art teachers and their students would not eagerly accept the challenge.
I see this as an annual contest with some obvious themes already suggested in historic and other local signage. I like the sepia and silhouette tones found in the early photos of Campbell River. Others may find inspiration from the Communities in Bloom, Words on the Water, Shoreline Arts or some other local event .
Three other reasons for this solution:
1) There will be no need for some fence-like camouflage. A camouflage will create the same situation that existed inside the Museum building and that created a need for outdoor toilets in the first place.
2) Both council and community receive huge benefits from citizen participation. Again, look at Words on Water, Shoreline Arts etc.
3) Council already provides Big Dollar support to the Arts Council. We don’t need a bureaucrat at City Hall deciding the color scheme. Paying someone $16,000 to do the job is to waste a valuable opportunity to encourage further public participation and interest. Potentially we could have the most interesting biffies in Canada.Visitors may come just to see them; seriously.
In case someone feels this is an attempt at humor, it’s not. If no one else will step forward I’ll join the Arts Council, gather some artistic friends and do the job for free.