The proposed vertical garden is more than a green project (see this link for an April, 2009 post on vertical gardens). Vertical gardens are one form of public art, and creating a good plan to incorporate public art into town planning would be a very smart move for Jackson. As Americans for the Arts notes, it’s important to clarify the difference between public art and art placed in public spaces. ArtSpot is an example of the latter; a vertical greenhouse an example of the former. ArtSpot offers art to everyone; one needn’t visit a museum or gallery. That is benefit in itself.
Public art incorporates planning around a specific site, considers how it will affect the public, how environmental conditions will figure in, evaluates what the art says about the site and community it inhabits. Vertical Harvest’s garden will provide healthy food, cleaner air, jobs (engineers, food growers, architects, designers, solar scientists…) and add welcome beauty to an unremarkable structure.
Successful public art is a powerful tourism tool. It builds cultural appeal. It builds recognition of place; it interprets place. All these elements stimulate economy. Well positioned public art draws people through urban spaces. Public art would engage visitors who don’t make it more than a block south, north, east and west of the Square and encourage them to venture further.
Often, public art is not fully appreciated until years after its installation. But you need only consider your favorite public art landmarks. Can you imagine the cities and spaces they inhabit without them? Over time, dynamic public art becomes an enduring symbol of place.
Vertical Harvest’s project design leaves most of the garage accessible for parking. If its building specs permit, the newly green space could be rented out for public functions, fund raisers, weddings, bat mitzvahs, etc. All generating revenue. The Town of Jackson’s identity, going forward, seems up in the air. Adding significant amounts of public art to available spaces (planning for and creating an open sculpture garden adjacent to the Center for the Arts, for example) will help Jackson move into an identity clearly different from that of Teton Village and Shooting Star. It is a very difficult course to try and match their status as luxury ski resorts.
Jackson’s 2010 Fall Arts Festival’s resounding economic success indicates that arts are the Town of Jackson’s trump card. Let’s play it.
Eco-landscape designer Patricia Johanson sends this video made for a NYC art exhbition; the clip profiles the Petaluma Water Recycling Facility and Salt Lake City, “finally in construction after large cash settlements and other concessions to a developer who owned an easement across our trail.” Good public gardens and public art also increase real estate values, says Johanson.
Wyoming’s Olive Fell (1896-1980) will be the focus of Cayuse’s attention on Thursday, February 17. Stop by Jackson’s best Western and National Parks Americana gallery from 5-8 pm that day, and see how Fell’s work “presents a reflection of the beauty in stillness, the peaceful wonder, and the fun and humor that still compose the American West.”
Cayuse’s Mary Schmidt shares Fell’s history:
“Born in Big Timber, Mt in 1896 (Fell) spent her early childhood in the remote areas of the northern part of the state….Her natural relationship with the wilderness drew her to move to the 1800 acre Four Bear Ranch after her schooling, and this is where she remained for the duration of her life. The Four Bear Ranch, 25 miles west of Cody, was close to both Yellowstone and the protected game refuge of the Absaroka Range; thus allowing her to track and observe animals. From the beginning Fell’s works were highly regarded on a national level. In 1934 her etching For Minds to Know was selected as one of best 100 prints of the year. Her works were seen at the International Etchers show in LA; the Northwest Printmakers show in Seattle; and at The National Art Exhibition in Chicago in 1939. It was a natural that Fell would develop a long relationship with Yellowstone. In the 20s through the 40s Fell created postcards, posters, and letters for park visitors. Locally she also began loaning works to the Buffalo Bill Museum, later renamed The Buffalo Bill Historical Center. Her works hung in the museum for years and they, along with the Montana Historical Society, still have the largest collections.”
Meet photographer John Richter during during Thursday, February 17th’s Gallery Walk.
Richter Photography is located at 30 King Street, across from Shades Cafe. Stop by to visit Richter and see his work 5-8:00 pm. For information, phone 307.733.8880 or email [email protected]