Pritchard Park is the victim again. The new art, even with the slight sop to Asheville’s existing classical style, remains the new sore thumb of the neighborhood. The sore thumb, like all other sore thumbs, sticks out because it is out of place. The parts of the statue that are shaped to copy parts of classical Asheville architecture are wasted due to the dominant size of the abstract parts—like the striped hat that won’t hide the lone giraffe in a herd of zebras.
Asheville needs to decide whether it is a place of classical architecture, abstract art or perhaps, an eclectic combination of abstract art sprinkled amidst the classical architecture.
Whatever the decision, someone has to inform the Asheville City Council and the local art community of the result. The City Council has every developer jumping through hoops while giving assurances that their architecture will be in the classical Asheville style. Meanwhile the Asheville art community is attempting to be part of the advance guard of any form which is in vogue, whether it fits Asheville or not. Maybe Asheville has an identity problem along with its obvious problem with logical preferences. If it is an identity problem, then maybe the art community has it right. Asheville should mix it up for a few years, then step back and see who it is—or better yet, who it has become.
In the interim, Asheville is a city well known for its classical architecture, beautiful vistas and Southern hospitality. Art, no matter how well done, becomes an integral part of the architecture and landscape and either affirms Asheville’s identity or evolves it into something else. Let’s stick with what has worked so well for us—the classical style. I’m for more art such as the bronze statues along the Asheville Urban Trail.
— Mary Ann Durand