I don’t want to sound overly provincial about this, but I’m tired of Roanoke City treating its own citizens like hayseed outlanders when it comes to the historic Roanoke City Market Building.
We didn’t have an architectural engineering firm good enough to do the re-design, according to the city, and now we don’t even have an artist capable of presenting public art for the entryways. (I've screamed bloody murder from the beginning about Spectrum not getting the architectural work because its proposal was far superior to the out-of-state company that won it.)
“A citizen selection panel” has selected artists from Maryland, California and Florida as finalists to decorate the four entryways. The finalists were picked from a pool of 35 responders to a “Request for Qualifications issued by the City,” according to a press release. The selection committee, says the release, included “arts professionals, community volunteers and members of the Roanoke Arts Commission.”
At a time when arts organizations would do well to cooperate with each other, the artist selected for this task should have been picked by a professional team from the Taubman Museum and the Arts Council of the Blue Ridge, the premier organizations that deal with art, and the damn artist should have been local.
There is absolutely no reason in the world to go to Los Angeles to find artwork for our crown jewel of a city market. This is a continuation of the shameful attitude that our people aren’t good enough. Our artists and architects are, indeed, good enough. Maybe our city government is the one coming up short.
This casual and cavalier ignoring of our local artists and other local professionals for our best projects simply has to stop.