Ashland Sculpture Proposal Sparks Heated Debate

Ashland, Ore. — Controversy in Ashland, where a proposed sculpture downtown has a lot of people talking. The Public Arts Commission says they’ve been saving for several years to make the art piece a reality, but some residents say the installation is hideous.

“Nobody likes that sculpture,” Leslie Caplan says.

Ashland residents are getting a first look at a proposed sculpture for the city’s gateway island, across from the downtown fire station.

“It doesn’t have any meaning, it doesn’t say anything,” says Caplan, “it just looks like a very modern cage.”

“Ugly”, “useless”, and “a signal transmitter to alien culture” are just a few of the opinions regarding the Seattle-based work. But it’s the finalist of 60 proposals submitted to the public arts commission and it’s panel. At $100,000 some feel it’s a waste of tax money, but city officials say the funds — which come from transient occupancy taxes charged at hotels — are strictly to be used for art.

“The money cant be spent on teachers or police or any of the other things people have suggested,” Dave Kanner, City Administrator of Ashland says, “the use of the money is restricted by state law.”

Some residents are on board with the installation calling the piece  “cool” and a “fantastic idea”, but residents like Leslie Caplan feel a piece of art that pricey should be supporting local art.

The council was set to vote on the proposal October 6th, but the Public Arts Commission says it may be pushed to November. The public is invited to weigh in. If the council approves the sculpture, work to install it will begin next fall.

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