Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Just Visiting

The population in my tiny little town recently grew by several temporary residents. They've just been hanging around quietly, not bothering anyone. I decided to take a look, up close and personal. 

I think I showed you "disgruntled shopper" before (Her real title is "Holding Out"). She is located across from the post office, and I stopped on my way to mail Ryan's birthday present. If possible, she looked even unhappier when I added my Priority box to her packages. I may ask her to model my Hitchhiker in progress if I can get it done before she leaves.

These two look like Biff and Buddy to me, but their title is "Yuck, Go Fetch". I'm not sure why Biff doesn't like Buddy licking his face, but if Buddy was my dog, I'd go in to Barkley's Gourmet Marketplace and get him a treat or two.

I found Mary Jane with her hula hoop ("Attic Trophy") in the garden at the library, a perfect location for her fun. I was fascinated by how real her denim jumper looks, but it's painted bronze.

I tried to tell these two that the train station where they were waiting is really a bank now, but it was almost like their ears were painted on. Don and Pete look like Mad Men, but the sculptor has called them "Frequent Flyers".

Poor "Weekend Painter" seems to have forgotten what he was painting. He has paint on his glasses, pants, and shoe, but no sign of the fence or porch that he might have been working on. I invited him to come to my house and paint, but he just ignored me.

Our visitors are all the work of  J. Seward Johnson, a sculptor and New Jersey native. His work is exhibited all over the world, but he's probably best known for his permanent collection at Grounds for Sculpture. I know several of you have visited and can attest to what an interesting, fun, and beautiful place it is. 

These pieces by Johnson were brought here as a short-term exhibit "to create maximum enjoyment of the sculptures and to drive foot traffic to our businesses.” The sculptures are enjoyable, but for me there is also the issue of what this is costing the town -- $20,000 for two and a half months. That seems like a fairly steep price to pay in a town that has some of the highest property taxes in NJ, and also has trouble finding money for a new fire truck, library books, and has to somehow fund a new $4.5 million water tower. There is much to be said for bringing art to where people live and work; I just wish it was at a more reasonable price. 


  1. Those statues are super fun! (My favorite is Disgruntled Shopper.) I always support art - and public art in particular - as a priority. It's tough to justify when there is so much (unfunded) need, and especially for necessities like fire trucks and library books. But art lifts the spirit . . . and, really, how much is that worth to a community? (Can you tell that I used to work in the arts industry as a grant writer???)

  2. The statues are cool but do you know how many BOOKS I could buy with $20,000??!! And they'd last longer than 2.5 months, too.

  3. Does the art bring more shoppers to the area? If so the art pays for itself (or at least in part). I'm with Kym in believing money spent on art is money well spent for many, many reasons. I believe I had a jumper just like the one the hula hooper is wearing and I have felt like that disgruntled shopper many times.

  4. I get it. But around here, there's not a problem raising MILLIONS for indoor sports training facilities -- for HIGH SCHOOL KIDS -- or anything sports-related. I'd gladly spend $20K on something ARTS-related.

  5. Wow, 20K does seem excessive! I am supportive of the arts, but I am too practical to believe that it should come before necessities. Besides, I have to admit that these statues, while interesting, are really not my kind of art. I hope they work for the business community, but I wonder if the town proper will realize any fudiciary gain. I am generally always a "disgruntled shopper"! ;)

    1. I'm with you on the practicality of necessities come first, needs before wants. There doesn't seem to be any organized plan for looking at monetary gains, so while I think that art is important, so are new fire trucks and books. The eternal dilemma of never enough money ...

  6. Oh I love these sculptures! Reminds me of being at Grounds for Sculpture a little bit back. What fun. $20K is a lot of money though......

  7. I really, really have enjoyed your posts about these "people" and think it's wonderful that your community brought them in but...that 20K would buy a lot of books!

  8. The librarian in a nearby *city* (pop. ~2,016) paid $6k for an ugly concrete bathtub-like sculpture to put in front of her library, never mind that the library -- and city -- budget(s) are not necessarily in the best of condition. Like Kym, I heartily applaud putting art in public spaces, but perhaps not at that price.

  9. I totally enjoyed the tour (and even found this photo from my friend who visited Grounds for Sculpture last year https://www.instagram.com/p/BHS3WMHDSTmKcm2uDqv34ci1Gu9oOPL0ClkbEk0/?taken-by=dbshade I KNEW I recognized that artist!) ... but I'm with you on the price and the prioritization of taxpayer dollars. I'd much rather see money invested in something permanent.

  10. I love them! They are wonderful! And, if you can motivate that painter, perhaps when he is done at your house you can send him here!

  11. what a fun exhibit! My town is too tiny to have something exciting like that but I would love it if it happened.

  12. Here are my observations:

    1. Myrtle has no time for your shenanigans.
    2. Biff does not deserve Buddy.
    3. Mary Jane is too young to have already had so much Botox.
    4. Don and Pete are discussing Roger.
    5. Grandpa doesn't even remember starting a painting project.



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