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Don't let bad politics block art

Dear Editor: Re: Turning iconic photo into public art, The Record, July 8. Dear Coun.

Dear Editor:

Re: Turning iconic photo into public art, The Record, July 8.

Dear Coun. Williams: Since "nothing is etched in stone yet," I feel compelled to weigh in on the topic of the "public art" proposal for the iconic Wait for Me, Daddy photograph.

I do have some experience in the public art field, having been on a board of governor's committee looking into such things for the University of Calgary campus, in its early days, and my family having donated works of art to both the University of Calgary and the Lord Strathcona's Horse Officer's Mess.

First, Greg Magirescu's astute recommendation that the city should allow artists from across Canada to submit ideas for the project should be heeded. We pay him well for such advice, and only parochial minds would limit artistic input to their "local favourites." Bad politics should not trump good art - especially when the subject is a recognizable "national icon."

Second, I believe that having the "second" most iconic war photograph turned into a lasting local war memorial is not only a great answer to getting base funding, but a fitting tribute both to the subject and to honour the very veterans we see in the photograph marching on their way to the front by train to defend our basic freedoms.

My father also did Second World War service in Western Europe, North Africa and Italy, including the initial Allied landing in Sicily and the battle for Monte Cassino.

Third, placing the public art war memorial as close to where the picture was taken on Eighth Street would be fitting as well. It could be accomplished as a cenotaph in the middle of the road on an island, much like the war memorials in London, near "Old Westminster" - thus accomplishing the task of an annual march-past on Remembrance Day.

If the final proposal is a three-dimensional statue, it could be rotated slightly to be accommodated on a mid-street island with the soldier closest to the old train station. In the alternative, there are two parks at Eighth and Royal that could also be used as sites. If the contest winner is a "stone carved or cast relief," it could be integrated into the Eighth Street wall of the new civic centre, on the assumption that planning for that facility is not so "cast in stone," so to speak, that this worthy addition couldn't be accommodated.

As a final note, why are the appointees to this committees not composed of citizens, with some expertise in the area, chosen from and populated by a general call for volunteers with such expertise? If this had been done, I would have gladly volunteered to serve and submitted my bonafides.

Looking forward to your response.

E.C. "Ted" Eddy, New Westminster