"The fact that no one understands you doesn't make you an artist" - anonymous.
Art and culture have been a foundation for Sarasota going back at least to the days of the writer's "colony" that thrived here in the 40's. The "art of the circus" or the "art of the deal " predate this however.
Alfred Eisenstaedt snapped this iconic photograph at the end of World War II.
This photograph is immediately recognized around the world and brings exhilaration to all those who see it.
Now this image has been transformed into a towering sculpture currently on our bay front. It is immediately recognizable although it still startles us because of its size.
Apparently the transformation of an iconic image (maybe a work of art itself) into a monumental sculpture makes it a work of art for sure. After all, it is included in our International Exhibition of Monumental Works of Art (formerly known as the Season of Sculpture).
Since we have a firm grasp on "what is art", we will turn our attention to the current controversy over the Hospice idea of having a "clown art" exhibition/fundraiser in Sarasota. Modeled after the famous cow exhibit in Chicago a few years ago, Sarasota would have fiberglass clown figures painted by local artists ..... well you know the rest of the story.
Alas, this ignited a local controversy that is apparently in all the state newspapers. At least somebody is laughing.
This leads us to another idea. Why not take another iconic photo and turn it into a giant sculpture?
I'm thinking about Emmett Kelly's Weary Willy character.
This could work on a number of levels. Of course everyone immediately recognizes Emmett Kelly's most famous character. And what better image than a clown to recall Sarasota's long relationship with the circus. (We give full credit to Hospice for this idea.)
This particular image would also conjure up images of the homeless we have right here in Sarasota - the best art does have a cutting edge you know. And finally, the sad face might even make some people think about the recent major changes in Sarasota's landscape. Growth that seems out of control, the transformation from a town to a city, the "working class" being priced out of a home in town, an extra long bout of red tide. It's enough to make anyone sad.
Now think of a huge Emmett Kelly sculpture completely filling the new green grass space next to the Sarasota One building where everyone driving into Sarasota would see it. This would make quite a statement. Gulfstream and 41 would never be the same.
This would be art for sure.