A new school of fish is Ann Arbor's latest public art project, and one of the last works to be funded by the city's now defunct percent for art program. The sculptures were installed Monday at the rain garden on Kingsley and First.
With a variety of plants already growing it's easy to see the Kingsley Rain Garden as a peaceful oasis just northwest of downtown Ann Arbor. The quiet was interrupted momentarily as metal fish outlines weighing up to 750 pounds were put in place with the help of a construction crane.
As the final fish was being installed the new rain garden and art got positive marks from Brenda Warburton. She works across the street and thinks the project turned out better than imagined. "The fish they look like they're swimming across the grass here and all, and the flowers, there's lots of different colored flowers that are coming up. They've done an excellent job," Warburton said.
Artist Joshua Wiener says drivers coming down Kingsley and turning onto First will be an active part of the piece. Their movement will make the fish appear to move at different speeds.
The plants in the rain garden were selected for their appearance and a specific purpose. They'll look like a creek bed and help soak up heavy rains in the flood plain.
While this project has gotten positive comments, the future of public art in Ann Arbor is uncertain with the end of the percent for art funding mechanism. Wiener says public art in the city was on his mind while working on the project. "I wanted it to be a significant potentially final piece, at least at this pause, so hopefully people will go come on, lets get more art!" he said.
Artwork being created for the Stadium Bridges project will be the final effort funded through the percent for art program.
Public Art Commission Chair Bob Miller says the advisory group is looking for direction from the city council on what to do next.