June 25, 2014

Remember This?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 2:53 pm

Under_the_Rainbow_cropped3b3adfRemember this?  Its title is “Under the Rainbow,” and nearly a year ago it was commissioned by the City of Coeur d’Alene Art Commission to be at the entrance to McEuen Park.  This little beauty was to go for a cool $100K.  At the time, the Arts Commissioners, the Mayor and many (but not all) of the City Council gushed about how beautiful this would be.

OpenCdA was given a peek of the Arts Commission minutes of the June 17, 2014, meeting.  It seems that the Commissioners’ attitudes may be changing now that the art has been accepted and installed and the check written to the artist.

Here is what the minutes reflect Arts Commission members saying now about “Under the Rainbow” at their most recent meeting: 


Mr. Anthony said that he has gotten quite a few calls on the art piece and was asked about the ambient light around the pieces. He noted that the lights can be dimmed, but they are part of a huge loop that would dim almost one-third or one half of the lights in the park. He is talking with Team McEuen about the lights and the possibility of changing the fixtures, which would change the quality of the light.

Mr. Anthony noted that another complaint about the art piece is that it is too white. He said that the idea was to have an entry into the park that identifies the park and asked the commission to consider the idea of putting the Team McEuen Logo and park name on each side of the arch, which would give it some color. Commissioner Johnson feels strong that if that was the plan, they would need to talk to the artist first. Mr. Anthony said that they can call the artist but in the end it is the Arts Commission’s decision. He also noted that request came from the mayor.

Commissioner Johnson said that the other issue he has with putting the McEuen logo on the arch is that it looks like other logos in the community. Commissioner Drake said that she thinks that a lot of people agree that the arch is under-performing and that putting the logo on it doesn’t take care of that issue. Commissioner Mueller agreed and said she thinks that we need to talk to the artist because the whole idea of the arch is that it would be a major color experience. Commissioner Drake said that there is not enough substance to make the piece look like an arch and she doesn’t know if there is a way to fix it. Commissioner Johnson said that he doesn’t think that painting the arch any other color will fix the problem. There was further discussion regarding the possibility of more cables, thicker cables, etc.

Chairman Sharnetsky said that he thinks the real issue is going back to the artist and talking to him about the lack that they see and what can be done. He noted that the commission does owe the mayor a solution that they can proceed forward with. He feels the solution is to tackle the root cause. Mr. Anthony said that he will contact the artist regarding the size and number of cables and ask what he would suggest. He will try to have an answer for the commission by the next meeting.

Their comments raise just a few questions from OpenCdA:

  • Ambient light concern.  We presume that means the lights in the park are too bright for the light from the art.  So, we wonder, why wasn’t that considered by the engineering team?
  • It’s “too white.”  We presume that means the colors are too subtle.  Again, why weren’t color brightness, contrast, and saturation considered by the whizbangs on the Arts Commission?  Unlike the Arts Commission, we at OpenCdA are very concerned about the downright dopey idea of defacing the artwork by attaching two plaques bearing the Team McEuen logo and park name to the art.  If it is “art,” you reduce its monetary and artistic value to nothing more than a very expensive signpost by doing that.  We are not surprised that this idea came from Mayor Steve Widmyer.
  • “…the arch is under-performing…”  It’s an inanimate piece of art. It sits there for people to see.  How is it supposed to “perform?”   How can it “underperform?”  In their prospectus to the artists,  how did Coeur d’Alene’s own connoisseurs of art explicitly define acceptable, unacceptable, and exceptional “performance” to prospective  artists?
  • Did the City’s Arts Commission commission this work to be a piece of art, or did they really want another gaudy LED sign?   Whether it’s the former or the latter, the Commission didn’t clearly articulate its requirements to prospective artists.

The meeting minutes report Arts Commission Chairman Joe Sharnetsky stating the commission does owe the mayor a solution that they can proceed forward with.   Yeah, not to mention owing an explanation to the people in Coeur d’Alene.   You wanted art, you got art.  It isn’t broken; it doesn’t need fixing.  It’s art, not a signboard.


  1. Art is what it is. The idea that they would commission the artist to literally upgrade his piece for their own tastes is ludicrous as well as laughable.

    But, it appears that this artwork is not as grandiose or as spectacular as these folks would like. They want bigger and better.

    I suspect if they (Art Commission) cannot get the artist to make changes to accommodate their visions, another artist will be sought, so the ‘billboards’ on both sides of this artwork will get the message across, that lets’s all know, they are welcome to pita pit or something like that.

    Comment by Stebbijo — June 25, 2014 @ 8:00 pm

  2. The city and arts commission keeps picking modern art. I would like to see them stop that, I know art is individual taste, but I see nothing that connects our community and/or the history. What is wrong using wood or bronze??????????????????????????

    Lumbermen, boats, fishing, etc. Since it is a park * maybe children and any of their activities. (could use baseball players, but they took that away)

    Rainbow * my opinion is that it should never be considered as an entrance

    Comment by Sharon Culbreth — June 25, 2014 @ 8:05 pm

  3. I had some out of town family visit recently. They thought it was a painted and decorated railroad crossing with he gates up. It’s not art. It’s not a rainbow arch. It is junk.

    Comment by Gary Ingram — June 25, 2014 @ 8:28 pm

  4. I thought we started out right. When we came back to Idaho after our hiatus in Oklahoma, the moose were all over the area on every corner. I thought they were adorable and I really liked the feel. I was disappointed to find out they were to be auctioned off and replaced with other art. Since then, we have Hindu Gods, Poop Art, and Skinny Skeletons dripping blood on their feet. Personally, it has been nothing but entertainment for me – my own inconsiderate mockery of an area that I was born and raised in, bent on hell to destroy our own culture by obliterating it’s prior existence.

    Just plant a grove of Evergreens around the entrance and hope for the best. It’s done.

    Comment by Stebbijo — June 25, 2014 @ 8:47 pm

  5. Many of the same folks at City Hall and on the Arts Commission now experiencing buyer’s remorse were there in 2013 when they mocked the people’s criticism. See my December 2013 post Stump Art and Monotony.

    Comment by Bill — June 26, 2014 @ 6:28 am

  6. Gary,

    It’s art — or at least that’s what the faux-sophisticates on the Arts Commission wanted the public to believe when they were scraping up the $100K for it. From the comments at the last Arts Commission meeting, it looks like the City’s cast of clowns didn’t want art; they wanted a bright neon sign.

    Comment by Bill — June 26, 2014 @ 6:34 am

  7. The post Stump Art and Monotony says it all. I think that Old Dog’s comments address the selection issues correctly. This is a selection issue. The suggestion that they alter the piece to suit what they think it should be is insulting to the artist and infers that art is simply a matter of adding this and deleting that to achieve what someone or a group thinks is appropriate and/or preferable. (Didn’t the artist approve the completed installation?)
    By the way, I question the basis for the comment that the Mc Euen logo is too similar to others in the city. This is a city park owned by the people of the city and a simple identification sign should suffice.
    Finally, I anxiously await the installation of the onion (aka allium) as it is kinetic and will no doubt make noise that may offend some. (I viewed the artist’s video of other installations of the same design and noted the sound.)

    Comment by Susie Snedaker — June 26, 2014 @ 7:54 am

  8. The only “art” in CDA is the art of subterfuge. Its not that the gate is too white, out of balance, or lacking adornment, its about how to get Team Mcquen free advertising and another stroke to their collective ego. They already got paid, now they want “twice paid” for decades? The arts commission chose to use complaints in a public forum for a reason and it has nothing to do with beauty.

    Art isn’t the end product–art is about the motions. I remember my grandpa sharpening his scythe in the tool shed. Feet firmly planted, file at a consistent angle until the finish cuts that were faster than the rough cuts, a twist at the hips, flip and rotate in the opposite. Then his graceful movements in the field–whacking weeds with the wind so they all fell in a tidy row. In my book that was art.

    The debate isn’t about art per se–the art in this instance is about who will win and how the win will be justified by the Fried Bologna Institute (that’s right Bill, the FBI) and the whim of their favorite daughter who I hear now has an honorary PHD in art (Piled High and Deep).

    On another note: I see that Mr. Souza supported the county ordinance that if approved by the BOCC would allow the County Planning Director to issue conditional use permits for the hydroplane races without any public comment component. I understand that a family has to rent tents and all, but the hypocrisy is as sharp as my grampa’s blade before the weeds.

    Comment by Old Dog — June 29, 2014 @ 10:57 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress
Copyright © 2024 by OpenCDA LLC, All Rights Reserved