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Park Board action killed 2008 sculpture project
16 May 2008

STATEMENT of United Tribes Technical College President David M. Gipp regarding action by Bismarck Parks and Recreation District board to table decision on sculpture project.

      "The action May 15 by the Bismarck Parks and Recreation District Board of Directors has effectively killed the eagles sculpture project for summer 2008. This was to have been the fifth in a series of collaborative public art projects between the district and students in the Art-Art Marketing Program of United Tribes Technical College.

      "I am surprised and disappointed with the park board decision and its timing. The college is well aware of the discussions concerning the formation of a public arts policy. Until the action yesterday, the board had declined to place a moratorium on the project and its staff had provided assurances that the project would go forward this summer. The board's action to table a decision on the project pending the formation of a policy is what killed the project.

      "The summer term is already underway at UTTC; it started May 12. The board has done a disservice to the nine Art-Art Marketing students to tell them to wait around for a decision that isn't likely to come. It is unlikely that the deliberations to form a public arts policy will produce results that can be approved and adopted in time to allow UTTC students the time they need to work on the project this summer.

      "If the board is to be consistent in applying its judgment about the art that occurs in Bismarck's parks, does this mean a moratorium is in order for the upcoming summer performing arts too?

      "In four years the eagles project has provided these benefits for Bismarck: It is a visible and vibrant sign of cultural diversity; it offers educational value to Bismarck citizens; It brings economic benefit from tourism; and it is a positive educational partnership in the community.

      "If this action by the park board is to stand, it will tarnish this model for how local government can collaborate on the goal of making a community stronger through the appreciation of diversity. The park board should be mindful of how much easier it is to tear down than build."

Please click here to read attached PDF: Gipp Letter to Park Board


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