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Public Art Attack: Look, It's Good for Tourism

Pretty sure Sam's heading to the city council's Transportation and Environment Committee meeting today, during which council members will meet with Dallas Area Rapid Transit president and executive director Gary Thomas and other board members to discuss what's on the agenda for 2010. Morgan Lyons, DART spokesman, sends this reminder for the Friends of Unfair Park: "Just to review for you, we'll finish the Green Line -- most of that's in Dallas -- this year. The Board will make a decision on the second downtown light rail alignment this year. Streetcars are an ongoing discussion. Lots to talk about."

And, speaking of council committees, I see that the Budget, Finance & Audit Committee is getting a lesson this morning on the City of Dallas Public Art Program -- as in, when it started (the Public Art Ordinance was passed September 14, 1988), how it's implemented, who's responsible for setting the criteria, how many works have been installed since '88 (78 commissioned, 25 donated), how many are on the horizon, and their benefits (as in, "Essential for Good Urban Design" and "Economic Advantage" and job creation and "Cultural Tourism"). Take that, Mitchell Rasansky.

To that point about tourism, says the briefing, "Iconic public art projects become destinations for visitors to the City [and] in Dallas, the best example is the Pioneer Plaza steers, which are frequently the site of tour bus stops and photo ops." Now, from The Flashback Machine, this January 17, 1994, article from The New York Times about the fight over "the largest bronze cow sculpture on the planet" and whether Trammell Crow's brainchild should have been in downtown Dallas in the first place. Best out-of-context quote? Take it away, Bob Stimson: "To some people, buffing some brown cows is a priority. To me, it's not."

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