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Art isn’t a commodity 

Perhaps we shouldn’t just covet the art of Elizabeth MacQueen (“Puck it,� News, Feb. 24-March 3); we should cherish the artist.

There was a time that art flourished; new buildings were planned with space specifically for monumental art, ethnic murals weren’t whitewashed, and artists weren’t hunted down. As an artist advocate, I remind San Luis Obispo of your priorities. California is No. 1 in the nation in public art, even above New York. This is due to the law Art in Public Places, encouraged by the former mayor of Sacramento.

At what point did the reputation, imagination, the creativity, the years of struggle, toil and sweat, the soul and spirit in the monumental art of Elizabeth MacQueen became a commodity; like an antique car, a diamond bracelet, or a well-crafted collectable Fabergé egg?

The city fails to recognize it has a permanent installation in Puck, and possession (which is nine-tenths of the law) with contract fulfilled. Had an ex-wife whined that the city needed to intercede and play judge, jury, posse, and bounty hunter, it would have been a different story.

There are cities that are defined by their relationship to memorable public art. There are cities that support the artist and create lasting and positive visual images of art-and-artist associated with those cities. Chicago/Picasso; Paris/Rodin. Then there is San Luis Obispo, which is apparently eager to play divorce court and community police.

Adios, Elizabeth MacQueen. May you remain free to create, unfettered.


Reverend C. Hite, M.A.

Pismo Beach

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