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 . . . 


Anonymous said...

1% For arts was always a lousy deal. It's past time we amend this legislation and curtail the spending. Just like everything else, it has become a city hall slush fund.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Did you hear about the Polish blonde artist who was a bit of a drip?

They called her JACKLYN POLACK!!!

Anonymous said...

The city's 1% art requirement is the only way KCMO's failed artists have a chance of survival. If the artists depended on the income they generated from the sale of their products to the public they would be starving.

Anonymous said...


Much of the art in the 1% program is imported; i.e., its made by artists from other places. Often these aren't 'starving artists,' they're commercially successful business people who have attracted a following. Which means they often are not poor and starving. The bigger question, however, is whether city money should be used to impose the artistic visions of a small, elite 'creative class' on everyone else, when so many basic, quality of life issues are poorly addressed by the city. There is a great deal of private wealth in the city-- corporations, wealthy individuals-- maybe they should step up with their own money for the arts, rather than use public funds. Finally, the 1% program is now viewed as money the city must spend simply because it's part of a program, not money that necessarily has to be spent if there is an exceptionally worthy use for it. That's simply waste, when so many other important needs of people go unfunded.

Anonymous said...

It does not say what constitutes "art" for the 1%. Most people think the current KCI art is a joke. (When my out of town guests say, "WTF is that?" when we drive by the billboard frame that pours water I call that a joke.) Rather than spend $16 million (1%) on more of the same, how about funding live KC jazz players. Nashville does a nice job of that with country. More people would notice it, like it and it would likely cost less as well as benefit more people than a couple of out of work welders.