Minneapolis’ MN GOP Drinking Fountain Art Project

Minneapolis Mayor, RT Rybak, recently reflected on the criticism he received for attempting to spend a relatively small amount of money to place free drinking fountains in the city that were both functional and artistic.

When it comes to public art, Mayor R.T. Rybak is tired of being a lone wolf.

Rybak told an art-centric crowd earlier this month that “I got my head kicked in” for installing 10 water fountains designed by artists — at $50,000 a piece.

Back when he was running for governor, the MN GOP used this as one of their talking points against the mayor. Considering that Rybak has significantly improved the city’s finances in the time he’s been mayor, the MN GOP had to dig deep for a financial criticism of my city’s mayor.

As I pointed out at the time, the MN GOP’s critique of Rybak’s city budget was laughable, since it represented a whopping 0.03% of spending.

Marty Seifert was one of the MN GOP candidates who attempted to make an issue out of the fountains. As the time, I pointed out that his own community has publicly funded art projects, so chill out. But, I also took at stab at what the state would look like if we actually took Seifert seriously on public funding for the arts:

What would Minnesota’s State Capitol look like had Marty Seifert been governor in the 1890?s? Would Seifert have had the vision to hire Cass Gilbert to build one of the most beautiful state capitols in the country? My guess is that he’d lean toward something more pragmatic that’s built out of corrugated steel; or perhaps sublease part of an abandoned strip mall. Fiscally responsible? You betcha.

Which brings me to something I saw the other day:

A @MNGOP Drinking Fountain

This appears to be a perfect example of a MN GOP drinking fountain. Here’s a zoomed in look at it:

A @MNGOP Drinking Fountain

If you ever find yourself heading south on West Mississippi River Road through Bohemian Flats in Minneapolis, try veering right at the fork before Franklin bridge, climb the hill, and keep an eye out on the right side of the road for this.

When you see it (go slow or you may miss it) don’t think of it as the most utilitarian drinking fountain in the City of Minneapolis. That would be wrong. Instead, take a moment to stop so you can fully appreciate this drinking fountain art project dedicated to the Marty Seifert’s failed gubernatorial campaign.

4 thoughts on “Minneapolis’ MN GOP Drinking Fountain Art Project”

  1. I like art and RT Rybak, but I think $50k is a lot for a drinking fountain. Even an artist designed one.

    I think the reason he hasn’t gotten a lot of backing from the art community is because $50k is a lot of cash, and because getting an artist to work on something like a drinking fountain is seems kind of naïve. Art shouldn’t be just about ‘prettying things up’, but that’s the way Rybak has presented it. I’d much rather he spent that money hiring an industrial design firm to come up with a template for water fountains that evoke the city or the river or the lakes or something, then produced 100 of them and put them all over the city.

  2. Eh…

    I think this gilded drinking fountain idea goes hand in hand with Rybacks comments about Minneapolis water tasting like Perrier. Well meaning, but with a real lack of reality and out of touch with his constituency.

    While some may adore the artists visions, there are many of us who view much of this “art” as little more than graffiti. To spend public dollars on beautifying the City in this fashion while families in adjacent neighborhoods are deferring maintenance on homes and foreclosures abound is lunacy.

    While I agree that some of this money could have been better spent to a wider benefit, I don’t think Mpls. has to hire anyone to format good taste because there are dozens of companies out there producing classical drinking fountains at a fraction of this cost that could certainly provide beauty and functionality without such an absorbent expense.

  3. $50,000 is ridiculous for a drinking fountain, no matter what party you’re from or what percentage of your budget it represents.

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