Letter: Public art makes positive impact
I am sorry that in Eric Sciarrone’s vast life experience of 24 years, he has experienced guilt and embarrassment about being from Aspen and, furthermore, that he is overly concerned about what others think (“Portrait of an Aspen stereotype,” Letters, June 18, The Aspen Times).
Portraits of Hope, an organization that after nearly 18 years of doing community art installations (many “floralized”) on a grand scale exclusively in large cities including Los Angeles and New York, chose our small community of Aspen/Snowmass for its current project specifically because of what a unique and special town it is. Because it is a somewhat protected “bubble,” it attracts people from all over to experience many things not as easily accessible in other places. If you visit http://www.portraitsofhope.org, you will see the opportunities the Massey brothers have given to schoolchildren of all backgrounds, as well as to sick and disabled children in various hospital environments, to have fun while adding color and vitality to various public objects we see in our everyday environment.
This allows them to be part of something larger than the artwork itself and for the community in question to enjoy it for a period of five months.
Our local Portraits of Hope project of decorating the emergency, first-response and law enforcement vehicles is no exception. Nearly 2,000 local children and adults participated in the sessions knowing their collective efforts were going to adorn vehicles of very special importance to our community. Additionally, hospitalized children from Denver and Los Angeles also participated due to the scale of the project. All of them are familiar with firetrucks, ambulances, etc., in their own communities. There is nothing in this project that lessens the necessary or serious nature of these vehicles nor changes or reduces their functions.
This project was created and chosen carefully and does not in any way reflect carelessness as Mr. Sciarrone suggests. Portraits of Hope projects have never been viewed as offensive, careless or gimmicky in the many other communities where the art has adorned walls, cars, lifeguard stations, planes, blimps and even an oil well.
I personally feel that we should be proud of the uniqueness of our community and its own reality, and that includes enjoyment of the public art created by a special group of individuals chosen to share in this project. Besides, a little levity is usually a good thing.
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