Controversy has been brewing over city plans to permanently install large-sized aluminum statues of cats and dogs in Maurice A. Ferré Park in Miami, Florida. Aside from the shady process by which the $896,000 contract for the sculpture was approved, members of the local art community in Florida do not agree that the theme is the best representation of Miami’s art history and culture.
Park Management Board Member Blows the Whistle on Proposed Installation
Conceptualized as a garden park by Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo, the installation cost of $896,000 is almost half the annual budget allocated by the Omini Community Redevelopment Agency to the Bayfront Park Management Trust that oversees the city’s parks. The Commissioner envisions that the aluminum sculptures of animals will bring busloads of tourist to Miami just to see the park’s “Walkway of Dogs and Cats.”
Carollo got the idea from a video shared by his wife’s friend, showing a Cali, Columbia park full of cat sculptures, which the uploader claims has become a trending tourist attraction. As the Chairman of the Bayfront Park Management Trust, he put forward the idea to the board. The board in turn voted to award the contract for the design and casting of the aluminum sculptures to a local foundry company known as Art and Sculpture Unlimited, Inc
However, Cristina Palomo, a board member who apparently was not among those who voted in favor of the contract, resigned from her board membership, and publicly posted the reason for her resignation. Ms. Palomo, who lives across the street from Maurice A. Ferré Park, said she was quite disappointed by how the project was rushed, without going through the right processes.
First off, the project was not included in the board’s agenda and there was no prior information given to the board members about the proposal. Secondly, the proposed public display of 50 large-scale animal sculptures did not seek public input.Thirdly, the awarding of the contract did not go through a bidding process that would have given other providers a chance to submit their designs as alternative choices.
That being the case, Ms. Palomo asserted that the board’s approval of the project was not made with due diligence. As a result, a public hearing will be held this coming Tuesday, March 23, 2021.
Miami’s Art Community Reacted Negatively to Proposed Art Installations
The lack of public notice about the aluminum sculpture project was said to have blindsided members of the city’s art community. Perez Museum Director Franklin Sirmans and other major personalities in Miami’s art world, including collectors Jorge Perez and Rosa de la Cruz, as well as Craig Robins, the founder of Design Miami, will be attending the public hearing on Tuesday. They intend to voice their opposition to Carollo’s proposed garden collection of aluminum cats and dogs sculptures.
Museum Director Franklin Sirmans said that at the moment, there’s a host of other things that could take precedence over the $896,000 aluminum sculpture project. Simmans added Miami has a vibrant history of art in public places that is bigger than all of them. Mainly because https://www.absolutnetwork.com/knowing-the-visual-arts/they are representations of the great things that have transpired over many years in building up Miami’s profile and its association to both contemporary and modern art.
Simmans cited as phenomenal examples, the Orange Peels sculptures of Claus Oldenburg and the collection of 60-odd paintings installed at the Ed Ruscha Miami Dade Public Library.
More importantly, Simmans pointed out that things should not happen by the hand of a single person. Through public conversation, they can make sure that there should be some degree of consensus in knowing what the people of Miami really wants, which includes a children’s playground and a dog park.