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Put Central Gateway art proposals on display in Kent

Published: December 5, 2012 4:00 AM

Why are the Kent Central Gateway artwork proposals not being displayed at the Kent Free Library? Could it be because PARTA does not want the public to see how weak these proposals really are?

This project will be either a focal point or an eyesore for a long time to come. The proposals should be displayed at the library for at least a month, and opinions solicited, before any decision is made.

Second, even as a U.S. Army veteran, I question the need for another veterans memorial, especially in this location. A bus stop hardly seems the best place for "observers," according to the contest criteria, "who wish to pause and reflect on what our military means to them." Besides redundancy, this is simply an inappropriate location. Our best memorial to our veterans would be better care and services, not more bricks, mortar, flags and bronze.

Third, public sculpture in a location with such high visibility should be of the highest artistic and civic merit.

After a countrywide talent search, only three proposals were short-listed. Of those, the oversized flag is simply monstrous. Gaudy and out of scale, it is in-your-face when it should be contemplative. It is about flag-waving when it should be about people. Veterans are people.

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What sort of aesthetic and civic insult might take form on that site, chosen by some faceless panel who already seem to be out of touch with appropriate use of that public space? Maybe they should exercise their right to reject all entries and start over with a broader theme.

Whatever is erected there, we will all be enjoying it, or stuck with it, for a very long time.

Jim Tucker, Kent

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anonymous Dec 7, 2012 9:14 AM

Thank you Jim. I also feel that the whole idea is ridiculous. Kent is not a military base and Kent State University is not a military academy. Kent is a university town, trying to re-brand itself as a progressive united community, it should not let another pointless war memorial despoil what it is betting its future on. (I'm from Ravenna, so I know all about pointless veterans memorials: the courthouse lawn has been despoiled by one for the last decade.)

I'm not a veteran, but I spent 18 months living in a war zone during which time my colleagues would occasionally get killed. To my surprise the proposed memorial, which I've followed closely, has brought back my PTSD. I am literally horified at that thought of the memorial.

I took pictures of the proposed designs and posted them at http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomasriddle/sets/72157629952903126/

If anyone cares to see them.