Letters to the Editor

Arena public art, water rights, Newsom, etc.

An artist’s rendering shows the proposed sculpture by Jeff Koons at the downtown arena.
An artist’s rendering shows the proposed sculpture by Jeff Koons at the downtown arena.

In support of Koons’ sculpture

Re “Sculpture riles local artists” (Page A1, March 5): I ask that the City Council take a lesson from Redding and vote in support of the Jeff Koons sculpture.

If the people of Redding can hire internationally renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava to create the world class Sundial Bridge, why can’t Sacramento hire Koons? Calatrava’s bridge has made Redding a destination city. Isn’t this what Mayor Kevin Johnson and others have been working toward for Sacramento?

Hiring a local artist reinforces the perception that Sacramento is more akin to a Midwestern city than the capital of the world’s eighth-largest economy.

Last June, in a Bee article commemorating the bridge’s 10th anniversary, Kim Niemer, Redding’s community services director, is quoted: “When we’ve had the courage and vision to think big, it’s paid off.”

Please have the courage to lead us forward. Look at it this way: The arena is the cake and Koons’ sculpture is the cherry on top.

David Crowe, Sacramento

Arena art a missed opportunity

The latest and greatest public art proposal – at a cost of $8 million – will be another missed opportunity to create an enduring art piece that has something to do with the rich character and heritage of Sacramento. In the proposed “Coloring Book” sculpture, there’s no tie to California’s Capitol, the River City, agriculture, railroads, gold history or even the Kings. Why not commission a sculpted collage honoring all these elements that give Sacramento its unique identity? Amazingly, the selection panel did include some local artists and historians, but they must have slept through the vote. So I guess we get another “Red Rabbit.”

Maybe someday we’ll have a public art piece that actually conveys, “You’re in Sacramento!”

Roger Smith, Loomis

Wrong message

Does the average person or a member of the selection committee really think that Jeff Koons’ art is going to get people across America to leap to their feet and say, “Wow, look how cultured and sophisticated Sacramento has become”? I don’t think so.

But if you do, I’m sure that you know by now that there are a great many of us who do not believe that spending $8 million on a 17-foot pile of colored cafeteria trays is going to do it.

Clifford Loveland, Elk Grove

Oooh, shiny; oooh, big

Re “Deal for public art at arena is too good to pass up” (Editorials, Feb. 26): If local artists aren’t famous enough to have a chance to compete for the arena sculpture, then maybe the local deciders aren’t qualified either.

Or it at least seems that way. Maybe we should have had someone from a big, important city make that decision for us.

As it is, the local deciders seemingly fell into the trap of selecting from the “If he’s famous, it must be great” school of thought. And we are getting a bargain at only $8 million.

Don’t forget: “Ooh, shiny”; “Ooh, colors”; “Ooh, big”; “Ooh iconic” takes the vote any day.

How sad.

Miles Constantine, Sacramento

Hooray for discussing art

Speaking from the perspective of a Sacramento muralist, the public process and the dialogue is paramount to good regional art. Keep it coming. As for Jeff Koons, while I like his colorful aspect, I say pop his arena balloon.

Hugh Gorman, Fair Oaks

Arts support is a facade

Re “Theater company suspends its shows” (Our Region, March 3): It is truly a shame that New Helvetia Theatre has been priced out of 1028 R St. With Connor Mickiewicz at the helm, New Helvetia Theatre has produced some of the most profound and entertaining theater in Sacramento in the past six years. By producing the lesser known works of writers like Stephen Sondheim and Michael John LaChiusa, NHT has taken Sacramento to the next level, even attracting professional actors and writers from New York and Los Angeles to Sacramento.

I continue to read about the booming arts scene on R Street. NHT was an original trailblazer for R Street. When NHT becomes priced out on the very street that Sacramento continues to hype, I can’t help but feel confused. Sadly, the next time I read about the R Street arts mecca, I won’t feel the same enthusiasm that I once did.

Rosemary Livaich, Sacramento

Real idea behind water rights

Re “Central Valley, Delta claims to water are under scrutiny” (Page A1, March 2): “Our underlying goal here is to protect the priority system for water rights,” said Katherine Mrowka, the water board enforcement manager. What barnyard effluvia. The underlying goal here is to gain more government control of California residents’ lives and ration water in accordance with their wishes.

Thirty days to find documents that may be 150 years old is a typical government ploy.

Why doesn’t the state look in the mirror and admit it has blundered by not building more water storage? I say stop the bullet train and build a few dams.

Philip Vercruyssen, Sacramento

Newsom broadens his horizons

Re “Newsom stops at Sierra Oaks to stump for reading” (Capitol & California, March 3): At last, my question has been answered. What does the lieutenant governor of California do to earn his pay? Going to kindergarten classes and reading “The Cat in the Hat” would not have been one of my guesses.

The article states, “He figures to draw bigger audiences running for governor in 2018.” Although the kindergarteners will not be old enough to vote in 2018, it is good to see Gavin Newsom broadening his horizons.

Ed Evans, Roseville

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