Saturday, January 26, 2019
Kansas City High Art Scam: Considering The 'One Percent' Ripoff At New Airport?!?!
Great guide to local subsidy and development issues on the topic of the biggest crash & burn project in KC history . . .
One Percent For New KCI Art?
Forget the movies. Political corruption doesn’t always involve furtive envelopes stuffed with cash. Sometimes it jumps out like a diamond in a goat’s bung hole. Take the proposed PokeGo stations at the new airport, reported here at TKC. This involves ripping terrazzo chunks and floor medallions out of the current terminals so these can be spread like Easter eggs around the new airport. Think this is a weird one-off? Probably not. Not if the city’s One-Percent-For-Art program has anything to do with it. This program basically says that up to one percent of any city construction budget can be spent on “public art.” The idea is that expensive and inscrutable art displays make KC “world class,” not a town coastal types can only envision themselves visiting as the result of a plane crash.
The more inscrutable and expensive the better. Like ceramic bowls on the wall of the East Patrol police complex. Nothing makes you think of cops like bowls crafted at huge expense by some depressive hipster artist. Or the million-dollar-plus “hair curler” things that top the city skyline, looking like devices signaling aliens in another galaxy.
There’s lots of anticipatory drooling in the bow-tied city arts and culture community about the new airport and the one-percent possibilities. No telling what rarified and expensive artistic head-scratchers might sprout from one-percent of billions. One project currently in the works is a scale model of the existing terminals, a requiem for the KCI they’re euthanizing to make way for the new … whatever they’re building. A model of a defunct KCI. That ought to be a visitor sensation. But cheer up, that likely leaves plenty of cash for things that make PokeGo stations, law enforcement bowls and giant sky IUDs look like bargains.
There’s a problem. Call it the lightening factor. It turns out that sticking big metal things into the sky attracts lightening. Who knew? KC’s most expensive and artistically refined lightening rods. The city eventually had to pay for fixing the damage. Depending on what the culture vultures decide to inflict on the new terminal, will travelers end up paying for security, insurance and maintenance in the form of higher ticket prices? There have been suggestions of installing visitor-attracting interactive exhibits that will pay for themselves through advertising but makes too much sense. Anything practical and sustainable isn’t art, you see.
Voters might wonder: Should a city that struggles to fill potholes, plow snow and provide affordable air travel spend millions, maybe tens of millions, on a new goat dazzler?
You decide . . .