Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Children in the Box

I almost choked when I came across this last weekend while walking Boomer through the Ogden Park mall near Hudson and Sedgwick.

Do ya think they could have thought about the weather implications before they chose a precious fountain that needed to be wrapped up all winter? What is the point of putting a fountain in a park if you have to look at this ugly box six months out of the year? Whose bright idea was this?

Obviously, a fountain can't run during the winter, but it can still look nice. No fountain at all would be nicer than this box half of the year.

The other thing that really gets me is that I hate this fountain. It's a little boy and girl depicted at scale. Each holds a saucer. She has birds on her shoulder and he has frogs in his pocket. God, it's enough to give me cavities just thinking about it.

But, what I double hate about it is that the two little kids are white. (Well, technically, I think they're bronze.) But, they're depictions of what white kids look like. Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against white kids. I have two of my own.

But, my point is that this is a public place and when you depict people, especially with public art, you've got to think about the implications of how others, not in the depiction, might feel about seeing that in what is also their public space.

What does this sculpture imply to children of color about whom the park is for? Particularly given the fact that it's located in a predominantly white neighborhood? If it was a statue of civic pride -- like a tribute to the two youngest botanists ever, okay, maybe I get it. But, thinking about things from several vantage points shouldn't be that rare when shaping our civic spaces.

And, now that you got me thinking about it, it's creepy. Two children frozen in a green box all winter long. That's so screwed up.

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