Crary sign

Dear editor:

I am writing in regards to the article in the Tuesday, August 5 Times Observer regarding the City Council’s rejection of the Crary sign.

I am somewhat surprised and dismayed by the statements made at the Monday meeting indicating an art gallery is not a place of entertainment.

There is no question that art is a venue for learning. Nor can one argue against the fact that art is about culture. But I am in total disagreement with the claim visual art is not a form of entertainment, but in fact visual art is entertaining.

Webster’s Dictionary define the word entertain as “to engage the attention of, with anything that causes the time to pass pleasantly, as conversation, music, or the like; to divert, to please, to amuse.”*

Whenever my wife and I are travelling, we enjoy visiting art museums and galleries. One can spend an entire day at Chicago’s Art Institute, Pittsburgh’s Carnegie, LA’s Getty or Buffalo’s Albright Knox. Look around and you will see people seated, gazing at a single painting, a sculpture, or kinetic art form for a period of time. Not unlike attending the theater or a ball game, one is caught in the moment of wonder and awe at the medium that comes alive to the senses. How can one not be drawn into the serenity and beauty of Monet’s Lily Pond or the brilliance of color and life-like appearance of a Renoir? One is awed by Rafael’s portrayal of religious figures and then there is always the stern portrayal of 19th century life in the US via Grant Wood’s American Gothic. One experiences the textures, movement, emotions, senses and mystery through this amazing medium.

Visual Arts are a wonder and an enjoyable way to pass the time. I certainly feel a sense of pleasure to have experienced not only the works of the grand masters but also the talents of local artists. Visual arts are a means of entertainment.

Warren is an amazing place. For such a small city we are blessed with a community that is steeped in the arts whether it is performing arts such as music or theater or visual arts as in painting and sculpture. Indeed each is part of our culture and can be an educational tool, but most certainly they are all forms of entertainment.

The folks at the Crary found a creative way to preserve the new sign by attaching a marquee. It would appear according to the article that the sign as a marquee falls within the parameters of the city’s ordinance. Rejecting the marquee on the basis that the Crary Gallery is not a place of entertainment is a misguided attempt to pigeon-hole art as only educational or cultural instead of incorporating an all-encompassing experience.


The Rev. David M. Blank