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Private developers to pay for public art

Original post made on Oct 4, 2013

Palo Alto's Percent for Art Program could soon require private developers to chip in 1 percent of construction costs for public-art projects.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, October 4, 2013, 9:55 AM

Comments (22)

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Posted by Pay for parking, I'm happy to buy the art.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 4, 2013 at 11:21 am

I'd rather they paid to adequately park their businesses. I'd rather pay for the art.

We paid handsomely for four parking spots for our Palo Alto home (2 in my garage and 2 on my driveway) while we only have three licensed drivers in our family and we all bike almost everywhere. Our car gets used about three times a week. It irritates me that developers want me to pay for parking for their businesses, essentially subsidizing their fat profit margins while I actually don't drive much. They are protected by Prop 13, while I pay taxes at a higher rate. They can pay for their own blankety-blank parking.

I'd rather pay for art.

If I sound angry about this, I am. Long-term commercial landholders are screwing residents. I don't ever want to hear them tell me how hard it is to make money on their properties. What a lot of nonsense. Open your books. Prove it.

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Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 4, 2013 at 11:32 am

How about just making new buildings look attractive, instead of like prisons (JCC and Alma Plaza).

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Posted by SteveU
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 4, 2013 at 11:53 am

SteveU is a registered user.

'My Art' is not 'Your Art'

Making a 3rd party (the developer) pay for someone else to choose on what to spend their money, for another location is ridiculous.

I would not be against requiring large projects to INCLUDE 1% minimum for outdoor Art. (Brighten up their Bunkers a bit)

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Posted by Jeff
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 4, 2013 at 12:00 pm

If the goal is to make Palo Alto attractive, and a nice place to work and live, the money should be spent on actually building better buildings. This is simply a fee to support special interests.

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Posted by Chipfor Thepoor
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 4, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Developers BUILD with City PERMIT,
Developers/City about SEGREGATION Poor and Rich Buildings Different Locations.
When City Grants Permit to Developers, City must Request that

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Posted by Dumbo
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 4, 2013 at 1:02 pm

This is just plain stupid. Almost no one wants any more public art, based on the last few examples of public art in Palo Alto.

Make the developers pay for important, much-needed things like other urban centers do: parking! road improvement/widening, etc.

In one community I lived in, residential and business developers were required to improve/enlarge school buildings, since their developments were causing enrollment so to be too high.

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Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 4, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Although I've written here and elsewhere numerous times defending or promoting public art per se, I called one of the residentialist council members and suggested rejecting the expanded Percent for Art proposal.

I think in our context it is a stalking horse for the developers.

With Measure D (AGAINST D), and the downtown parking meetings, there is a push-back against development-run-amuck, and a certain amount of sympathetic talking by leadership, but the momentum of the developers and their incentives are still rather formidable, so I would hesitate to call it a sea-change back towards the residents. The developers are also quite sneaky, so this sudden interest in art could be just a ploy.

(Not that residentialists all support arts, either...)

I would rather slow development 50 percent across the board than muddy the waters with them adding cultural langniappes to each project.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 4, 2013 at 2:35 pm

No! No! No! We need parking from the developers, not public art, most of which is pure crap. The so-called art that a lot of residents hate is a huge waste of funds.

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Posted by JerryL
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 4, 2013 at 2:46 pm

I would much rather have them spend the 1% on more
parking spaces (that they ought to have provided anyway).
There ought to be a requirement of a parking space for
EVERY tenant and anticipated customer of any new development.

I would rather see them plant a few nice looking trees
than what passes for art these days. And save the money
for parking provisions.

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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 4, 2013 at 7:05 pm

This is subterfuge to distract residents from what is really going
on and make it look like the City is interested in streetscapes and
aesthetic values while developers get a free pass to do whatever
they want. This is like supporting historic values at the Gatehouse
and its plaza and the Birge Clark facade on University Ave both of which were dwarfed and ruined by new out of scale and incompatible
office buildings as developers dictated the outcomes. Besides,
the "Go Mama" sculpture on California Ave which should be removed
and recycled as part of any street beautification project is absolutely grotesque. We should not be subjected to more "public art" in Palo Alto.

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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 5, 2013 at 12:34 am

A whole 1% ... amazing.

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Posted by No-To-A-1%-Fee-For-Bad-Art
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 5, 2013 at 8:14 am

This is another attempt to gouge developers--driving up the cost of new construction--that ultimately will be paid for by higher rents, which results in higher cost of goods and services from the businesses that will occupy these buildings.

The public art that we have now is mostly junk. Better to create a program that allows us to create with other cities a public art pool that allows a greater number of pieces to circulate.

Also--it's important to stop buying art from the local hacks who are clearly not producing much of interest, or value. Better to spend our public art dollars on pieces that are produced by artists who have a track record of producing art that can be appreciated by people outside the artists family and close circle of friends.

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Posted by van gough
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 5, 2013 at 8:25 pm

That the story in the Weekly used that ridiculous running car installation, presumably as an example of public 'art', says it all. The public art in Palo Alto is ----, period. Forcing anyone to pay, and install more ---- on their property is stupid.

I think Los Altos has a public art program where artists install art in public spaces for an amount of time, and if someone wants to buy it and take it home, they can. Last I heard, it seems to be a good program.

The Palo Alto Art Commission, responsible for that awful piece of ---- called the Digital Egg , is behind this. I think that says enough. When is that commission going to be disbanded?

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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 5, 2013 at 10:33 pm

The running car and Go Mama were done by the same artist. It's
pretty clear what happened here. It's the same reason why there
is a Cheesecake Factory on University Ave, and a massive Lytton
Gateway,and so on and so on.

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Posted by Jill
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 7, 2013 at 6:04 am

The public art in Palo Alto is hideous. Put the 1% fee toward more parking. Palo Alto's reputation is overrated. We are becoming a city with ugly, cheaply constructed, oversized commercial buildings. The quality of life is quickly diminishing. Within ten years the majority of PA will be Asian. It's a fact that nobody wants to hear or print.

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Posted by everything wrong
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2013 at 8:58 am

Palo Alto is becoming an incredibly ugly city, in terms of sign
clutter and sign control, street markings, street barriers, streetscapes. The City is oblivous to all this.A public art program if done properly, which has not been the case so far in Palo Alto, can be a positive but must be in combination with other steps the City needs to take, including much better design control by the ARB.
The congestion and parking overflow problems compound all this in
terms of ambiance and character. The City right now is in a rapid and accelerating decline because the City has no focus, and is basically doing everything wrong.

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Posted by Art historian
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Oct 7, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Many artists of old became famous after they died, and were not appreciated by their peers either. Their work is now worth millions.

My family enjoys most street pieces in Palo Alto, but much of the new development art is bland, using art to occupy space, and by force.

Citizens serving on art commissions, those responsible for spending city monies designated for street art, are to be appreciated for agreeing to spend their time and their talent in a thankless position, the results of which simply cannot satisfy everyone.

More art buffs can apply for the commission. Any takers in this combox?

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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 7, 2013 at 2:50 pm

The main problem with the 1% for art demand is that is will become defined as a public benefit, thus allowing developers, and the city council to allow/approve projects that should be more carefully considered.

I, too, am offended by much of the public art that is out there in Palo Alto, but that is not the main issue. We would be much better off if the arts commission was shut down, because they push this nonsense, according to their own substantial egos...and which helps lead to ill-considered developments.

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Posted by remedy needed
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2013 at 6:25 pm

The public art program must be viewed as part of the systemic failure of government in Palo Alto regarding all aspects of planning
and design review.It's not just one grotesque piece like Go Mama
but part of massive failure across the board. I believe the only
answer at this point is to create a new level of control by establishing a design review function outsourced to a recognized design professional/firm hired by and responsible to a citizen committee. Private development,at least major projects, and public actions would be reviewed for aesthetics and compatibility and have
to be signed off. The very presence of this review function should
produce better submissions right from the start and establish
boundaries as to what is approvable.Needless to say many of the
projects/actions to date would not have happened.

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Posted by resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 8, 2013 at 11:02 am

The Palo Alto Art Commission selects unappealing art without regard to neighborhood context, and its membership have egos too inflated to listen to the public. The California Avenue Fountain is a prime example of this. In this case, the Art Commission asked the public to vote and then completely ignored the vote. Shame on the Palo Alto City Council for not only allowing, but encouraging, the Art Commission to run amok. Do we really want more of this?

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Posted by Tina Peak
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 10, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Why doesn't the city require that they take the 1% and put it towards making their massive developments look better. We can at least bring back gargoyles on the roof and decorative trims and archways. Give us something to look at since the city allows them to over-build and block all of our sunlight and our surrounding views.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Addison School

on Jun 5, 2017 at 2:48 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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