The "Social Circle" is a group effort between readers, social networkers and the OnMilwaukee.com editors. Every Monday, we ask a question via Facebook and Twitter and then post the responses from our Facebook "likers" and Twitter followers in this column. Well-known Milwaukee movers and shakers will contribute, too.
From the big, orange sunburst ("The Calling") to the New Pink Planet, Milwaukee has its fair share of eye-catching public art with more on the way.
What are your thoughts on this? Is public art important to a city’s character and success? The Social Circle, as always, is divided on the issue, but for the most part, believes that it is.
Brian Brehmer: "Depends on the condition and quality of that city's art museum."
Royal Brevväxling: "Absolutely. In addition to enriching and beautifying public spaces, I think it's key to remember the importance of the modifier 'public.' Art meant for the public and placed in our shared domain should also speak to community, history, shared public memories and also challenge us as that community. The 'Monument to Joe Louis' bronze arm and fist in downtown Detroit comes to mind as an exemplar, as does 'Monument to the Immigrant' along New Orleans' Riverwalk and the statue of Dr. King on our city's King Drive in Brewers Hill."
Kelly Briske: "Only if the taxpayers don't have to fund it."
Jeff Ganger: "This is a joke, right?"
Larry Johnson: "Art is a spark that lights a fire of creativity. Art is everywhere and in everyone. Just passing made art by takes your soul to a higher level. Even if just for a moment. And that's a good thing for us all."
Paul Lee: "Yes, as much as it is important to have parks and recreation areas. It's a public good, it lightens the spirit and makes people interested."
A. Dawn Rae: "It should be important. Unfortunately, most public art is chosen by committee for its blandness and inability to prompt any reaction or thought at all. It is rarely more than decoration, and often fails at being even that."
Sharon Reitsma: "I think it's a relative question. Is it good to have art? Yes. Is it better to have its people fed and healthy? Yes."
Diane Richter: "Yes it's up lifting to the soul, Makes your city stand out among others. Attracts people to travel here and see. I think we should have more local artists able to display their art work in our Downtown as well as shopping centers, bistros, cafes, airports, train stations, grocery stores, farmers markets. We should always support local growers, artists, inventors."
Anja Notanja Sieger: "What is not art when out in the public?"
Toni Spott: "Absolutely! Why? Why not!"
Lauryl Sulfate: "YES. Art makes life more than just surviving. Self-actualization is the apex of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, and art is part of that. For some, public art may be their only exposure to art. Art enriches people's lives."
Lucky Tomaszek: "I think it's crucial to have public art throughout each and every city, in areas where everyone can see it. And especially in places where it's not expected. It's my strong belief that public art not only enhances the lives of the people who encounter it, but that it keeps our brain's synapses firing in ways that our different than our regular work-a-day lives can do. It's good for the individual's spirit, and for the communities."