I love making chance, serendipitous arts discoveries over the course of my daily routine. Those unexpected encounters and the fascinating, little-known stories behind them are what inspired me to start my own visual culture themed blog and they energize and excite me still. Take the following example:
Late in the afternoon on Sunday, my husband Dave and I were driving home to South Boston via Summer Street. Just as we were about to cross the Channel, Dave noticed a new work of art suspended over the water and I promptly pulled the car over so that we could take a closer look. As luck would have it, the artist, Peter Agoos, was still on site and I spoke with him briefly as he was preparing to place the artist statement panels that will accompany and identify this sculpture.
Arts Imbalance is an intricate tightrope that hangs between the Summer and Congress Street bridges. Atop this cable, an aluminum figure (with an almost identical companion attached just below the rope) moves back and forth according to the whims of the wind. But fear not, this intrepid wire walker is also a whirligig, and if the top figure starts to fall, the bottom figure will rise up and take its place (and on and on it goes).
On view over the Channel for the next few months, Arts Imbalance serves as a buoyant and poignant reminder that in our society, the arts simply are not as valued, funded, or protected as they should be – and that issue is a national one. In spite of this persistent problem, artists – who are ridiculously resilient folk – always seem to figure out ways to bounce back. These larger points come further into focus when we consider the perhaps not-so-coincidental location of this public sculpture.
Hanging above the water that separates the Financial District of Downtown Boston from the Fort Point Arts Community, Arts Imbalance invites viewers to be stimulated by the clever ways in which artists like Peter Agoos take it upon themselves to create meaningful gestures often in the face of limited funding and all manner of red tape.
For me, Arts Imbalance is a temporary monument to all the plucky, innovative artists in our midst and a call to action for their community to provide the kind of support that will allow them to walk on a few less wires in the future.