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April 1, 2023

Designer of sjb public art must be recognized

Arts education in San Benito County maintains a feeble
To ask the common individual if they maintain an appetite for
art as a regular diet would be frivolous.
Dear Editor:

Arts education in San Benito County maintains a feeble character.

To ask the common individual if they maintain an appetite for art as a regular diet would be frivolous. Not because our community is ignorant but because the community has not been provided with adequate educational resources to allow our good people to appreciate art. For example, in 1993, San Benito County took on its first Art in Public Places project located at the entrance of our county’s administrative building on Fourth Street. Two stone sculptures flank the building’s entry.

Richard Deutsch was the public artist chosen by a review committee to design the project. Mr. Deutsch is an artist from the Santa Cruz area and carries an impressive resume of completed public art projects. Prior to the project, two public forums were held to promote education about public art and art history regarding the design of the two stone sculptures.

Only a small handful of interested artists attended the forums. Deutsch commented, “I do not know the people of San Benito County very well, but I do know they have other interests.”

Is Mr. Deutsch correct? If so, why didn’t the community take upon their civic responsibility and voice that which needed to be heard, “We don’t really care.” The county now has a public art project that is not appreciated by the community.

I have visited the site and see no visible evidence of who the artist is. I do know people have artistic insight. Take for instance your average household: Homes are decorated in one way or another and designed to meet the needs of our families. You’ve heard this before, “I don’t know anything about art but I know what I like.” This proves that our community is creative and open to new perspectives.

The artist who designed the stone sculptures needs to be recognized. First, Mr. Deutsch is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz. Second, Mr. Deutsch interned in Italy at the American Academy in Rome. In Europe, art culture has been cultivated for centuries. Living amongst a high standard of respecting art, Richard Deutsch took very careful consideration in planning for our community’s project. Deutsch studied San Benito County’s history and development. He studied the county’s environment and the effects of our common earthquake activities over time. He studied our architecture and witnessed its aging process and the characteristics given to building facades. He visited our five county districts and observed the special characteristics that symbolized each district’s geographical content. The artist put his best foot forward to understand and present to our community a project that would be worthy of the respect he gave to our community.

Should we not do the same and respect Mr. Deutsch’s artwork with the recognition of his name?

Roger Coutu,

San Juan Bautista

Staff Report
A staff member edited this provided article.

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