You Only Put It On The Refrigerator. . . And They’re Your Children

VG School Now that the home extruders are finally off my back, it’s time to take on another totally self-absorbed and entitled sector of the population — children! A flap has erupted over the proposed mural for the East Avenue side of the Vartan Gregorian School in Fox Point.  The PTO decided that the students should be allowed to design the mural. They then hired artist Michael Kolendowicz (BFA Painting, RISD ’09, and Mammoth Murals of CVS fame) to make it happen, but local residents and business owners are not happy with the proposed images so far. From The Providence Journal today,

They complained that the mural was too large, too bright and too garish for the neighborhood, which already has its fair share of murals . . .

“It was ghetto stuff,” says George Goulart, owner of Aqua-Life Aquarium, a Wickenden Street store adorned by a coral reef-themed mural. “That was not the project that I had donated $500 to. I never imagined they’d propose such a surrealistic, cartoonish thing.”

It would be easy to chide Goulart, given his own vivid display, but that’s exactly why anything nearby should be something ‘other’. Let’s try something a little more sophisticated so that the students can see how cool good art is, and maybe be inspired to go to RISD and learn how it’s done. There’s a reason we do not let children design public art. It’s the same reason we didn’t let them build the school. There not good at it yet.

(I’ll bet Mr. Yurdin will be hearing about this tonight.)

8 thoughts on “You Only Put It On The Refrigerator. . . And They’re Your Children”

  1. There is a difference between a say and a demand. I might not like how my neighbors across the street paint their house. It is within their rights to anger me and it is their choice to do so. It is the right of the neighbors to protest if they like but in no way should they have a veto over the wishes of the owner. Should the property be creating a danger to the community or violate the local zoning standards then that is a different story.

    The local community in this case has a slightly greater right to input as this is a government institution and therefore “owned” by the larger community. This has already ensured that the mural will be weak and inoffensive to anyone.

    IMHO if the property owners (at least in one case) cannot be bothered to apply their own standards to their own properties they have zero credibility and should be very quiet.

  2. Their visual space is inside the building. But we all have to look at the outside, particularly adjacent property owners. I think they get a say in this.

  3. I read the Projo article, and discovered there are two businesses that I will not EVER set foot in again in that area. Seriously, Goulart has the gall to make snide remarks about potentially garish murals? And Rustigian Rugs- really???

    Then again, maybe we should just paint everything gray.

  4. Really it is inappropriate and self entitled for children to help design the school they work in with the help of a professional artist?

    Perhaps the locals could take a closer look at the condition of their own buildings before throwing stones at the “ghetto” mural. Peeling paint, decrepit store fronts galore. If they don’t like the mural they can help pay the 100k to recondition the wall properly or better yet repaint and repair their own buildings.

    As for Aqua-life criticizing the quality/condition of a mural the irony hurts just to much.

  5. It sounds to me like the East-siders are afraid of gentrification. Especially by the quotes pulled from Mr. George over there.

    Why can’t the students be part of creating their own visual space, using their own visual language? I absolutely do not agree that the mural should be toned down with “pastels” (which seems like they are trying to make the mural “fit” into some idealized version of the East Side….: Isn’t this about celebrating the culture of the school, its students and their artwork?

    Way to go creative capital. Shut them down while they are little and full of energy, pride and imagination.

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