Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Redneck Stonehenge: Tim Leigh Is An Art Critic

By Laura Carno

Copperhead Road Nightclub made news Friday night because of an art project outside of their business. Sounds like a non-story, as it should be.

But Colorado Springs City Councilman Tim Leigh has a problem with it. In a story on Fox 21 News in Colorado Springs, Councilman Leigh says "You have a car that's sitting on the lot, that theoretically would be a junker, and would by zoning be hauled off and then you put it on a pole and it becomes art? That's a little bit of a stretch for me I think, but it is somewhat interesting," Leigh said.

The art includes 3 old cars, arranged into a Stonehenge formation. It is art to Justin Carter, Copperhead’s General Manager. And Carter told me that before he started the project, he spoke to the Regional Building Department and was told that no permit was needed to put art on your own property. So they started the project.

With due respect to Councilman Leigh, his opinion on art, as an elected official, does not matter. Is it a legitimate function of our local government to make an artistic determination? If patrons of the nightclub like the art display, they will spend their money there and the business will thrive. If the patrons do not like the art display, they will not spend their money there and the business will fail. That is how the free market works.

The City Council has a lot of legitimate business on its plate between Memorial Hospital, Colorado Springs Utilities (which unnecessarily spent $7,500 of ratepayer money on an electric car filling station), and decisions about whether or not to drill for oil and natural gas. A City Councilman should not spend one more moment attempting to determine the artistic value of what a business has on their property.

Laura Carno is a Political Consultant. She can be reached at www.lauracarno.com.