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Artist seeks to capture the order — and chaos — of emergency response

Original post made on Jun 27, 2019

Before Peter Wegner developed his art concept for Palo Alto's new public-safety building, he decided to see the world through the eyes of an emergency responder.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, June 27, 2019, 12:08 PM

Comments (12)

Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 27, 2019 at 9:53 pm

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

My point is that for that kind of money we should get all four pieces of Wegner’s proposal. Staff, which went through a lot of turnover during this time frame, has not adequately explained the deletion.
Tanaka, besides misrepresenting the extent of the opposition, fixates on the thousands of dollars difference between the various ways to calculate “one percent” but shrugs off the much bigger question of the fifty MILLION dollar cost overrun for building as a whole. He’s a pander bear in fiscal hawk headress, best friend, apparently, to anybody with a cement mixer.

Posted by Me
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 28, 2019 at 1:47 am

I saw some photos of the artwork and they are awesome. Law enforcement deserves a nice environment for the unselfish jobs they hold. Who wants to be a police officer or 911 operator? Most people cannot stomach such work. The current police station is atrocious, I’ve seen the interior working conditions. And it’s insane that a new building has been promised for decades yet still won’t be completed for 3 years. We always know that help is a phone call away. I say throw more money at the project; what is more important than our safety and health? Tanaka is misinformed; there is plenty of wasted money in our city, this is not a waste.

Posted by Sally
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 28, 2019 at 11:42 am

While I support public art, the price tag on this is exorbitant. What has happened is clear... a 1% metric for art (which is well-meaning and taken alone reasonable) is still being applied even when the cost of property and building has gone insane.

Clearest by example: This would be equivalent to a local family, newly buying a $2mil home in Palo Alto (doesn't get you much!), were to say, "Hey, we need to buy a $20,000 painting... that's not at all excessive, it's a reasonable art budget ratio!"

We need adults on duty. Make things beautiful (including art!) with some awareness of cost and common sense.

Posted by Marc
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 28, 2019 at 1:52 pm

Does anyone take into consideration how dated these pieces will be in a couple of years? How much we will have to pay to have the pieces maintained/restored and what will be spent in 5 years to replace the art with something cheaper?

Why don't we spend $100K for the initial artwork and then plan on spending $100K every 5 years to update the building with new art.

It is short sited to think that art is a one time purchase.


Posted by Waste
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 28, 2019 at 2:29 pm

I love art and support local artists with my own money, but it is just wrong to spend tax dollars on something so extravagant. Why not spend less on a newer less well known artist that will probably be just as good?

Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 29, 2019 at 11:10 am

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

Maybe next time a “newer less well known artist” will apply and be selected, over the 63 other applicants including Wegner.
Maybe you should apply for PAPAC.

Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 29, 2019 at 11:12 am

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

Maybe next time a “newer less well known artist” will apply and be selected, over the 63 other applicants including Wegner.
Maybe you should apply for PAPAC.

The other thing we have to worry about, with the Wegner piece, is if a perp grabs one of the 49,000 pushpins and uses it as a weapon.

Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 29, 2019 at 3:01 pm

I just want the building to be survivable, and, operating after a big disaster. It should survive (protect the occupants) a magnitude 9.5 quake (Chile 1960-- Alaska 1964 was 9.2), and ride through undamaged with an 8.3 quake (estimated likely max for the next "big one" on the San Andreas fault.

Architects tend to dislike these requirements because the resulting buildings tend to be aesthetically uninteresting. Public safety buildings need to be operational during disasters.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jun 29, 2019 at 8:41 pm

We have only 1.5 traffic enforcement personnel and only a couple of community officers, and the city is going to spend over $700,000 on artwork??? That is INSANE! I am very much against this needless spending and will remember this come election time.

Posted by Judith Wasserman
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 1, 2019 at 11:08 am

Judith Wasserman is a registered user.

@Anon - the rules about the survivability of police stations, fire stations and other public safety buildings are not in the purview of the architect. The codes are very strict and clear on the subject. I don't know what makes you think that it makes a building aesthetically uninteresting.

Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 2, 2019 at 10:36 am

As a former disaster manager -- AND an artist -- I find Wegner's art appropriate, very thoughtful, and impressive.

Posted by George
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 4, 2019 at 6:10 pm

Reminds me of the junk on California avenue median, the woman holding up the washing machine, the bizarre circuit board egg outside of the Pizza shop and the absolutely bizarre project to photograph every house in PA to find the Palo Alto color - all, publicly funded, wasted dollars and opportunities.
The money is pure waste and a violation of the city’s obligation to ensure that taxpayer money is spent responsibly.
Just paint some large, colorful squiggles, dashes, dots, and blotches on the walls and save the big bucks for the pot hole fund.

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