Saturday, November 28, 2015

Central United Methodist Church of Muskegon @PureMichigan Faces Fines for a Garden Sculpture of Eric Carle's Really Hungry Caterpillar.

SAVE THE MUSKEGON GARDEN CATEPILLAR: An open letter to Frank Peterson, Debra Warren for Muskegon and Ken Johnson.

Hi, I live in the Nelson Neighborhood by CityHub bicycles. I am also a board member of the Muskegon Area Arts Council, an active part of Muskegon's cultural scene. For example, Everyday People is an art installation on Western and Fourth Street which MAAC and Mercy Health Outreach has exhibited for Worlds Aids Day three years in a row. Now if we can keep the peop...le from falling over in the recent high winds.

As Bob Lukens can attest and Ken Johnson affirm, I have made the Muskegon arts scene a subject of documentation, lately fielding my articles to a Kendall College publication called Art-Hack. I have kept my eye on the art scene for nine years, since I moved to the Muskegon Area in 2008. Progress causes shifts, and I understand the sale of the YMCA to MCCC required the dismantling of a garden by the YMCA. In that YMCA garden, an art installation where food was grown had to be moved, a caterpillar made out of painted tires. A tireless volunteer for economic justice and food equity, Lora Swenson, took it upon herself to rescue the art and install it in the Matthew Miller Memorial Garden, where she teaches children how to garden. It is my understanding that Swenson will be undergoing hip replacement surgery in December.

I understand as well as anybody that one man's art can be another man's eyesore, and the city of Muskegon has taken action against the caterpillar in its new location, and fines are imminent, fines that the Congregational Church might be liable to pay. The church owns the garden. The church also feeds hundreds of people every Saturday, and any fines would take away from that long established ministry.

More, the repurposed is now a key of the Muskegon aesthetic. For example, Pigeon Hill made extraordinary tables out of slab wood reclaimed from the Lake Muskegon bottom. Three years running, the Muskegon Center for the Arts has produced "The Muskegon Lake Project", a critically acclaimed exhibit of art fashioned out of flotsam and jetsam gathered from the lake's shore. More, the four Avian sculptures, installed by New York City sculptors, are made out of repurposed materials. It is an honor and delight for Muskegon to host these eye catching sculptures that have attracted so much positive attention.

Hence, we will do well to treat the garden caterpillar as an example of this Muskegon aesthetic, and I ask you, Frank and Debra and Ken to defuse the contentious situation and work with us to find the right place for this agricultural sculpture. Love Community Garden might be the right place. Laughlin Grows might also be a good place too. Let's be sure to keep this one out of the landfill.

Thanks for your kind consideration, 
Wandering Wilbo, Muskegon Area Arts Council

1 comment:

dunelight said...

Well written. I was at the 'MCC' on Friday (So much is the same, lots of smiling faces from the old YMCA.) I've not seen the garden in it's new digs. Best of luck with your letter.

~Kim