Search Results for “munson plaque”.


Yesterday Sodapop and I were out for a stroll. We happened to walk past the gateway of Phillips to the Falls, and I noticed this plaque. It’s basically a commerative plaque about the $3 Million dollar street to nowhere. The plaque was not surprising. What surprised me was that not ONLY did Munson put his name on the plaque, but his FACE! Even though it doesn’t look like him. I can’t beleive that for 1) He didn’t even start the project, and 2) overspent on the project (and may have broke city charter in the process) had the nerve to put his face on the plaque! You would think Jeff Hazard and Craig Lloyd’s face would have been on there too, since they were pretty much given the land.




At the June fourth city council meeting I had the pleasure of addressing the city council and mayor about public art in our city. Due to other commitments I could not stay to hear the debate on whether or not a plaque commemorating Phillips to the Falls and Mayor Munson should be taken down. Later in the evening I happened to turn on the CityLink channel and noticed that the plaque resolution was about to be debated. I watched as our mayor excused himself, and the city councilors sparred over the issue. At one point they tried to determine what was the definition of art. I know our city leaders may not be the most philosophical bunch, but I would expect after the city attorney read the Visual Arts Commission’s description of what qualifies as public art in Sioux Falls, the resolution vote would have been a no-brainer. The likeness of Mayor Munson was art, created by either a graphic designer or memorial artist, and since it was art, it needed to go through a public art approval process, which it didn’t. The plaque should have came down. Only two of the councilors argued to take it down. Brown wanted it down because it didn’t commemorate the right people and Kavanaugh, who proposed the resolution said it needed to be taken down because we didn’t follow the approval process. What disturbs me the most about the debate was how little our councilors know about art’s connection to politics.

We are at a turning point in Sioux Falls, a place where we need solid, honest decisions made by progressive thinkers that want to move our city forward. This requires people who have a love and a knowledge of the arts, because like progressive politics, art is concerned with the development and enlargement of the human personality, and with human freedom.

On June fourth these attributes were in short supply.

According to British activist and writer, John Molyneux, “Art is never pure self expression. Artistic production is always affected by a multitude of economic, social and political conditions which range from the crudely practical (“can I afford the canvas and paints?”, “will any theatre stage my play?”) to the question of state or religions censorship and to the pressures of all the ideological currents of the time. Even more fundamentally it is flawed because the very “self” which the artists seeks to express is itself a social product, the result of the sum total of that person’s experience i.e. their interactions with other people, with society. And if all art is unavoidably social and ideological why should it not tackle directly political themes alongside other social themes such as love, relationships, ambition, relations with nature and so on?”

Art is the glue of society that connects us all. We should expect that those who lead us at least understand the basic concept of art and importance it plays in politics.

Even if Munson didn’t have the artistic insight to realize it, the placement of this plaque was a political statement. In a sense, telling us he doesn’t have to follow the rules, and he used art to propagate that.

Molyneux also goes on to say “Art cannot and should not be reduced to political critique or propaganda. Art reflects and responds to the whole range of human needs and experience: birth, death, love, sex, the quality of light or rain, feelings of personal despair or hope, the look of hills and trees, the lines and color of buildings, the play and pain of children, the drama of the sky and of the streets – everything. Of course it is true that in the final analysis all these things are profoundly conditioned by politics but that does not mean that every artistic expression of these themes needs to be outwardly political. And insofar as that expression is powerful, moving, beautiful or original, and develops or refines our means of communication (visual, linguistic or musical) it is a benefit to humanity.”
Our mayor has shown no respect for the rules, and no respect for art, and because of that, the plaque needs to come down.

But some coffee goers are still upset about the article, as well as the editorial cartoon that appeared on page 2B which featured a satiric rendition of the plaque in which Munson is depicted as a king.

“That was just awful,” said Pam Miller of Sioux Falls.