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"Public art committee hopes to keep “Blue Boy” from rolling out of town" -- Chattanooga TN
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 35° 03.602 W 085° 18.346
16S E 654496 N 3881012
Quick Description: Blue Boy Pull Toy #1, a fun but controversial piece of public art in Chattanooga TN.
Location: Tennessee, United States
Date Posted: 10/7/2017 2:13:52 PM
Waymark Code: WMWRHA
Views: 4

Long Description:
Blasterz enjoyed Blue Boy Pull Toy #1. What's not to love about a sparkly blue rhinocerous on wheels? :)

The price tag, apparently:

From (visit link)

"Public art committee hopes to keep “Blue Boy” from rolling out of town
By BEVERLY CARROLL - Published on September 29, 2011

A proposal to buy Blue Boy Pull Toy #1, an outdoor sculpture of a blue rhino standing on wagon, evoked strong emotions from some of the Chattanooga City Council members during the review of the Oct. 4 agenda.

“It’s nice but I hate to see it brought to us at this economic time,” Councilman Jack Benson said. “I know my friend Mr. (Larry) Zehender (administrator of Parks and Recreation) will say the money is already allocated. I don’t care if it’s allocated, we don’t have to spend it now.”

The Public Art Chattanooga committee is asking the council to approve $32,000 to buy the piece, sculpted by local artist John Petry.

Councilman Andrae McGary, who is a member of the committee, said the group has not asked the city to make a purchase in three years.

“This is a local artist, so the dollars will go back into the community,” McGary said. “The dollars have been allocated and when we allocate them, we ask (the committee) if they intend to spend the money on art. I would wager this committee has sought to be (conservative) in spending.”

Established in 2006, the public art committee’s budget is around $350,000, most of which is from private sources, committee chairwoman Peggy Townsend said. The city’s contribution is around $100,000. City Council members voted to allot the $20,000 to secure a $40,000 Lyndhurst grant to fund administrative costs in the 2012 budget.

The committee is conscious of the city’s economic situation, Townsend said.

“The committee has heard the council loud and clear in the past about being conservative and being under budget constraints,” Townsend said. “That’s why we’ve been resistant to purchasing anything. This year, we felt like this is a piece that people love and it would be bad to see it go.”

The sculpture is part of the committee’s annual competition where seven pieces are selected and displayed throughout downtown, the Southside and the North Shore areas. Blue Boy Push Toy #1, located near the Chattanooga Theatre in Coolidge Park, was the only local piece selected from more than 100 entries. The pieces are on a rotating basis and will be replaced in October.

Townsend said the theatre has used the sculpture in its educational programs and its popularity is documented on the committee’s website.

Councilman Peter Murphy said the city has benefited from the public art program.

“According to the Conventions and Visitors Bureau, hotel room bookings were up 18 percent – 18 percent in this economy,” Murphy said. “It’s not necessary, it isn’t essential, just as the Riverwalk isn’t, the Riverfront isn’t, Coolidge Park isn’t essential, but it’s what’s bringing people here. It’s why people come for vacation then look to see if they can relocate here. It’s why people come for a convention then look to see if they can take their family vacation here.”

Councilwoman Deborah Scott said she will not vote for the purchase.

“What brings people here? Roads bring people here, roads take people to work,” Scott said. “They’ve not bought art in three years? I have roads that haven’t had anything done to them in 20 years. There’s no excuse for prioritizing pieces of art over infrastructure.”

Council members Sally Robinson and Russell Gilbert said public art has helped the community grow and provide an attractive quality of life that draws people to the area.

Townsend said the public art committee’s contest brings more art and a wider variety of art to the community for a smaller investment than making purchases. The committee also tries to buy a piece from each show to add to the permanent collection but has not done so for several years, she said.

“But people get attached to pieces and this one is really crafted well and has weathered beautifully” she said."

More heartburn on the Chattanooga Times Free Press: (visit link)

"Chattanooga to spend $32,500 for blue rhinoceros on wheels
October 5th, 2011
by Naomi Jagoda in News

The Chattanooga City Council agreed to buy a big blue rhinoceros on wheels Tuesday night.

The statue, "Blue Boy Pull Toy #1," has been on display for two years in Coolidge Park. The city plans to purchase it from local artist John Petrey for $32,500.

Some council members in the agenda session questioned the decision to buy the piece of public art.

Councilwoman Deborah Scott said the council should consider priorities in a recession.

"Some people in my district don't make that much a year. Actually, a lot of people," she said. "$32,000 is significant."

Local sculptor Isaac Duncan, a member of the public art committee, said the body has been mindful of the economic downturn and has refrained from making purchases in recent years. However, he said, buying this piece would be an investment in local business and an asset to the city.

"We are small businesses that do custom works," Duncan said of local artists. "Every time I get paid, I'm reinvesting it."

Scott, Jack Benson and Pam Ladd voted against the measure. Council members Manny Rico, Andraé McGary, Peter Murphy, Russell Gilbert and Carol Berz voted in favor of it.

In other business, the council voted to send texting while driving citations to City Court. The ordinance passed unanimously on second reading.

The council also is slated to vote next week on a proposed special exception to the city's light industrial zoning that would allow for ethanol facilities. Members briefly discussed the matter in agenda session, and County Commissioner Tim Boyd appeared before the full body to oppose the measure.

Staff writer Ansley Haman contributed reporting to this article."

Blasterz are very glad the naysayers lost this one. Each of us really enjoyed Blue Boy Pull Toy #1, and we thought it brought a lot of personality and whimsy to this fun and funky area of Chattanooga.
Type of publication: Internet Only

When was the article reported?: 9/29/2011


Article Url: [Web Link]

Is Registration Required?: no

How widespread was the article reported?: regional

News Category: Arts/Culture

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