When it comes to public art, Mayor R.T. Rybak is tired of being a lone wolf.
Rybak told an art-centric crowd earlier this month that "I got my head kicked in" for installing 10 water fountains designed by artists -- at $50,000 a piece. He said they should have come to his defense.
"I really want to push the envelope on a lot more of those things," Rybak said during a panel discussion at the Minneapolis Central Library earlier this month. "But that is not up to me to do alone. And you people... who've done phenomenal things, you were nowhere in that discussion."
His comments came during a discussion about the National Endowment for the Arts' $200,000 grant to "re-imagine" Hennepin Ave. as an arts corridor. He noted that project will likely involve public investment in art.
"I'm telling you we have to be a posse for each other in a period of time, where if there's a nickel of public money in it I need your vocal support in doing that and you should be pushing us to do more," Rybak said to applause. He added that, "I would really like a little more wind in the sails when we step out and do something out of the box."
In an interview Friday, Rybak related it to the recent controversy over Minneapolis' bike coordinator position. In that case, bicycle advocates spoke out.
"When people wanted us to cut a bicycle coordinator in this town, people rose up and made it clear that this was about safety and about the kind of city they wanted," Rybak said. "And I said to my partners in the arts community, if we’re going to do more, we’re going to have to have a more effective lobby to support things.”