The following contribution comes from noted Councilman John Lee. His insite and vision for the City of Wixom are interesting and noteworthy.
Importance of Art in the Community
When asked to describe the perfect small town, what are the features that come to mind as we describe our own version of Mayberry? Locally, do cities such as Northville, Linden, Holland, and Harbor Springs come to mind? Places inviting and comfortable to drive through, or better yet, to stroll through and stop for a coffee at a storefront table. Places that bring a smile to our heart for no other reason than being there, cities and towns we enjoy visiting. Those little places that bring a smile to our faces because of the easiness of the structure, the veritable combinations of different forms, the explosive yet cohesive collage of colors. What is it that is common among these communities that embodies these feelings of safety, ease, and contentment, and encourages one to seek excuses to return to enjoy the atmosphere and partake in the shops, cafes, and various storefronts that abide there. In a word: Art.
Public or Community art can be a difficult concept to embrace and support, especially in difficult economic times. That being said, it should be recognized that public art is a tremendous commercial and investment stimulus as it the element above all others that defines the lifestyle of a community. Public art is a visible invitation for all to join and participate in a community’s activities and lifestyle. Art can be one of the most valuable public assets of a community. Sadly it is often the first asset to be ignored in times of tight budgets.
Wixom has begun to embrace such a stance towards public art with the development of the Village Center Area (VCA). Working with the developers of the VCA, building facades have been designed to reflect a variety of street views. In the residential areas of the VCA, fountains and decorative structures have been incorporated in the streetscapes. Flowers are incorporated in pubic park areas and outdoor activities are encouraged with events such as the summer concert series, farmers market, and various other events held on the mall across from the reflective pond and fountain at the City Offices Campus.
While such efforts by the City are a beginning, as recognized, current economics make it difficult for the City to do much more without the strong support of the residents. Support comes in many forms other than the obvious collection and expenditure of taxes. Support is also provided in letters to the City Council in support of community art, as suggestions for art based programs, fiscal and expertise contributions, and most significantly, requests to produce events, concerts, contests, etc. which expand the depth of art in Wixom.
Public art, whether in the form of gardens, statues, festivals, galleries, or events, is an asset rather than an extravagance to a community. Expansion of public art serves to expand and preserve the growth and prosperity of a community.