AiPP (Art in Public Places)

My first “lesson” in WPB city politics came over 30 years ago when I attended a Spencer Lakes HOA meeting.
Ike Robinson was the President of the BOD before he won a seat as a City Commissioner.
A neighbor asked why most homeowners had Barrel Tiles on their roofs and others had Asphalt Shingles. (Much Cheaper)
Ike explained our documents called for Barrel Tiles but a new developer built homes and received a waiver from the city and was allowed to install Asphalt Shingles.
When pressed Ike explained “someone’s palm got greased” (Give someone money in exchange for a favor; also, bribe someone)
and explained the developer worked with someone at city hall in order to receive the waiver. Why am I sharing this, here is the story.

AiPP (Art in PUBLIC Places)

Former City Commissioner Shanon Materio brought the AiPP program to West Palm Beach. I imagine she thought residents would appreciate some form of art along with the skyscrapers city officials are so fond of giving to developers, due to the city’s shortage of high- end office space. Here’s what you need to know.

AiPP program requires developers to incorporate into their projects public art valued at 1% of the development cost or contribute a sum equal to 1%, not to exceed $750,000 to AiPP for artwork throughout the City,
and the ordinance requires art to be “exterior” and “exposed to public view”.

This brings me to the Canopy Hotel which recently opened in WPB at a cost of $33 million dollars.
Lets do the math: $33,000,000.00 x 1% = $330,000.00 to the city to be used for art in Public Places

While The Canopy Hotel has an interesting art installation inside the lobby, it can only be seen during sunlight hours by entering the building. This public art cannot be seen by pedestrians and drivers during the day because the building’s exterior consists of mirrored window panels. Looking at the hotel during the day, you can see yourself — just not the public art. Of course, you could always park your car and press your face against the mirrored glass to try and see the lobby art, but does that actually make it “exposed to public view”? To be fair, if you walk or drive by The Canopy after the sun sets, you can make out the illuminated interior art. But please be careful. You don’t want to have an accident while viewing the public art.

The AiPP committee recommended it and the City Commission’s voted to approve. Why did the City Commissioners approve the project? Because “Staff Recommend Approval”, and City Commissioners can’t be bothered to investigate the project and depend on staff for their information. In fairness to Commissioners they aren’t allowed to question staff before the vote is taken. Mayor Muoio and former City Administrator, Jeff Green wanted them to receive only information which will insure passage. It’s time for James and Johnson to allow Commissioners to question staff which may change their vote on any issue.

“The now-open hotel has no exterior art exposed to public view and the artistic atrium with sculpted banyan roots dangling from 60 feet above. The roots, illuminated with LED lighting and visible from South Dixie Highway, are the Canopy’s $300,000 contribution to West Palm’s Art in Public Places and the hotel contributed $35,000 to the program’s fund.”

No, No and No. The city is owed $295,000.00 for art to be placed throughout the city, not spent in a hotel lobby.

Please take the time to read the PB Post on opening day and pay attention to the art placed in the bar and lounge area. Three monkeys, dressed in business suits, one with his hands over his ears another his eyes and the 3rd. over his mouth. Hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil. How appropriate.

Final question: Who’s palm got greased?

The city is about to do it to us again with a meeting. “An Art in Public Places Call to Artists Review meeting has been added for 4:00PM on Thursday, July 16, 2020. We’ll see.
Read the PB Post story below and see the monkey business men.


If you wish to read the City Code ARTICLE V. ART IN PUBLIC PLACES, it can be read below.