Your city at work (sort of)

UP and DOWN with Baltimore

July 24, 1991

AT ITS May 29 meeting, the city Board of Estimates awarded $35,000 to artists Linda DePalma and Paul Daniel for artwork at the Franklin Street Garage. (A 27-year-old ordinance requires that up to 1 percent of the estimated cost of city construction projects be spent for "ornamentation.")

These are excerpts from the transcript of the meeting. DePalma is describing the artwork.

DePalma: The art is going to be an 11-by-14-foot cut-out. The cut-out of metal with a bronze chair and an aluminum painted ball. The cut-out will help to provide ventilation for the parking garage. The whole -- the thing about putting art on a building like this is to try to fit into the functionality of it . . . If you stare at it long enough, the blocks look like they're . . .

Daniel: Going back and coming forward in space.

DePalma: So, do you want to talk a little bit about how the imagery evolved?

Daniel: Part of it is, you know, the whole thing of coming to the parking garage. Finding a place to park is somewhat of an adventure, you know. You go into a parking garage and you drive around and around. So that developed this maze idea, here, on the top and as well as the multiple spaces helps with the blocks. And the chair and the ball are, you know, success at finding your parking place is like having a chair and the ball is an idea of the participant, of you the viewer, if you could relate to being a red ball.

DePalma: It's more of a game. It's like a game board and it's open to your interpretation. You could make up your own story to go with it . . .

VTC There's also, on the other side of the building there's another space similar, and we're going to do the same thing but without the chair and ball, just the cut-out grill work, so it will look like this. And, at night, it will be back-lit so it will be a 24-hour art piece, which is nice. You get a little bit more for your money. . .

Mayor Schmoke: Can I ask just one mundane question?

De Palma: Absolutely.

Daniel: Sure.

Schmoke: When you finally get the artwork up there, how large is the chair going to be?

Daniel: It's a regular size chair.

DePalma: It's a regular size chair cast in bronze.

Schmoke: I'm just wondering if it is going to attract someone to try to get up there and get their picture taken seated.

Daniel: Falling out of there.

DePalma: You would be sitting -- gravity would be tough to deal with.

Daniel: Look at the space, you know, it's a big space. You're way up above the street.

Schmoke: I understand that. . .

City Council President Mary Pat Clarke: We could do it.

Schmoke: We could stand on each other's shoulders.

Daniel: I think it would be extremely hard . . .

Deputy Comptroller Richard A. Lidinsky: Maybe they could have come up with a biretta or a cardinal's hat.

Schmoke: Well, that's the red, Mr. Lidinsky.

Lidinsky: I think instead of a ball. They're right at the basilica.

Clarke: Yes, I know. I was thinking the same thing, except how do you make a religious parking garage?

Lidinsky: Well, they may have stop-and-park confession someday.

DePalma: It was a challenge.

The contract was then approved unanimously.

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