By Hope Mucklow, Author, Blogger, Songwriter, Teacher, and Coach
Last week I received notice of a public meeting of the Boyton Beach Art Advisory Board regarding approval of a proposed contentious sculpture to be installed in front of The Cornelia T. Bailey Cultural Arts Center positioned next to the South Florida PBS studios. Tracey Caruso from the Florida Jolt wrote a good professional summary on the meeting. (Link below) Now, I’d like to chime in.
Running late, I walked into the meeting already underway. A board of individuals sat in luxurious swivel office chairs behind a monstrous u-shaped table positioned higher up with a 3 foot physical barrier to the seating part of the room. Next placed ten feet back were two neatly lined groups of chairs with a center aisle. There sat a few clusters of people in between many empty chairs. On the side aisles two microphones hosted a steady stream of people who voiced their plea to the board to vote for or vote against the strange statue.
One of those women broke the name of the proposed statue of “Harmony ” into “harm on me.” She proceeded to site many attributes of this sculpture that suggest repulsive sexual positioning. Another concerned citizen pointed out that much of the artists’ work is inappropriately sexually explicit. This was then mocked later by one of the PBS defendants by his saying that people see what is inside themselves when they interpret art.
Then one of the directors of PBS Education proceeded to shared her test results showing this awkwardly shaped figure with children 8-10 years of age who she reported responded wonderfully with curiosity. So how many children in this age group did she test? Where did she find these children? Who’s children were they? Did they sign waivers? Do you see the bias in her research? But she holds the job title at PBS and therefore is the expert, right? Well, I think that the boy who had the courage to say the emperor had no clothes on was missing from her test group.
Also, let’s further discuss children ages 8-10, especially in group settings. For the most part, they are still fairly respectful, innocent, trust, and want to please their teachers compared to tweens, teens, and adults. This is what they learn in Kindergarten and now Pre-school. Then consider developmental psychology. Concrete literal processing is how these children are thinking. They are not going to think in abstract figurative manner even though others from PBS who spoke claim that they do.
Several opposing citizens respectfully pointed out that art like this exists, but should be in the museum where people are choosing to visit, not be forced to see when they pass by on the street. I reflected on that and gave thanks for the lovely horse sculptures that I passed in a neighborhood in Parkland, FL . They lifted my spirits and cheered me on my way to locate my next client’s home as I circle around them driving by.
Returning back to the proponents of the image and its name, Harmony. Do you see the irony and play on words? Its creator Warashina is known for creations that are her statements on politically divisive topics. Funny she’s supposed to be from Washington, D.C. The last I checked that city’s nickname is the Swamp, not Vienna. Aren’t there plenty of fantastic artist right here in South Florida?
For me, I see several realities playing out. First, this is all evidence that The Communist Goals of 1958 for the United States of America is complete. Consider specifically goals #22 and #23:
22. Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. (The) American Communist cell was told to “eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings; substitute shape-less, awkward, and meaningless forms.”
23. Control art critics and directors of art museums. “Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaning-less art.”
Number 23 was clearly displayed after public comments were closed. Members of the board proceeded to discuss with the city lawyer and advisors what criteria they were to follow before voting. It was an incredible bore to hear them site line items in paragraphs amidst volumes of pages getting clarification on what was considered a rule to be followed. Clearly some on the board lacked courage to vote outside the lines of minutia.
Meanwhile, allow me to tell you what I’ve witnessed as a public school teacher. I saw students produce amazing pieces of art at just 12, 13, and 14 years of age. I’d argue that their work surpasses the artist who is charging five hundred thousand dollars for her work. Now of course they don’t have the years of experience or the material to make a 15 foot outdoor idol that will weather the beating sun and fierce winds of tropical storms that this woman has. My point is, there is a plethora of good artists and work to choose from. Hers isn’t that special, but it is political and coming out of the capital of woke.
The citizens who found this proposed sculpture offensive, inappropriate, and upsetting out numbered the supporters 3 to 1, but the board instead listened to the “experts” and voted for it to be approved.
So what are good moral citizens to do? The showed up, they voiced their concerns and were ignored by three of the board members who voted in favor. Perhaps they helped the other two vote no. I say, job well done and press onto approach the members of the city commission who will vote next on whether this bizarre image is going to sore 15 feet high above all heads in a major public thorough way if installed.
If however it is approved and constructed, I suggest that the opponents ignore it like all other hideous modern art that has already been shoved down our throats. Focus on the birds who will inevitably poop on it, the beautiful blue sky, sunshine, and puffy clouds. Don’t visit much less pay to go to this new art center in your precious free time. If this is what is going to be outside what on earth is going to be on exhibit inside?
Relax, don’t let them upset you. This is their goal. Think about it, who is going to take the time to look up this artist and her work? Most are way too busy to do so. And the majority could care less to tune in much less listen to PBS.
Cherish, enjoy, and pass on to your children the love of good classic and worthy art. Not all modern art is trash. Teach your children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. Stop relying on the schools to do it for you. Read my blog for ideas on how to lead your loved young ones better. Heal your own emotional wounds so that you can improve on these relationships.
Instill the good, beautiful, and worthy. Model it by how you dress, decorate your home, and what you applaud out in public and especially on social media.
Support local and live artists who are producing beautiful art that uplifts and inspires. For visual art, Mira Lehr is of local interest to me in South Florida. But my top pick shifts toward performing artist Talon Smith of Fresno, California. Check out how amazingly this young man plays the piano! I’m so glad we got to not just hear him, but meet him and his mom when he performed for the Chopin Foundation in 2021 in Coral Gables.
While there is a time and place for the dark and ugly make sure your dollars are supporting people what you value. Notice that I did not feature any of Warahina’s work in this blog including the piece being considered. Why draw more attention to this artist?
Laugh back when mocked. Hold those who project accountable on the spot. Don’t allow them to bully you with these psychological tactics. They are the lowest of low. Don’t stoop to their levels.
Lastly and most importantly, for the Christian and Jewish people, stop being it in name only. Nurture your faith in the one true living God who created all things by speaking it into existence. Live righteous lives by the natural law spelled out in the 10 Commandments. Repent from your sins. Study this law in the Torah. Pray. It is the prayers of the righteous that YWHY hears not those of the self-serving worry wort.
For more information on the story visit https://floridajolt.com/boynton-beach-art-advisory-bd-approves-controversial-sculpture/.