A public art exhibit in a Baltimore park has elicited complaints and compliments from various voices in the city. But like it or not, the art is good for the city's consideration of and connection to its public spaces, according to this editorial.
"Lee B. Freeman is no Christo, but he's caused quite a stir with his art in the park. Surrounding each of the four green spaces in historic Mount Vernon Square with an enclosed, gold-painted chain link fence was no small feat, and it was just the start of his art project. But so far he has managed to offend people's taste, challenge their concept of art, restrict their movement and play havoc with the notion of a walk in the park. He may have intended an outdoor artscape, but he has inspired a spirited debate worthy of any good civics lesson. What's wonderful about all the commotion is the passion generated over a municipal park."
"If only all of the city parks would have such loyal and outspoken followings. Some of the more notable ones certainly do, from the undulating Patterson Park on the east side to deeply forested Leakin Park on the west side. Druid Hill Park, the classic among the pack, has its supporters, but how often have they rallied to its defense? In case Mayor Sheila Dixon and other political leaders have missed it, this unusual expression of civic pride reflects a collective sense of ownership. And they should tap into it. Parks matter to people, and in a city of asphalt and concrete and glass, access to clean, well-groomed outdoor space is essential for the spirit."