When, if ever, is public art a good use of taxpayers’ money?

In a hearing today, members of the St. Paul City Council are considering whether to dedicate funds to the creation and maintenance of public art. When, if ever, is public art a good use of taxpayers’ money?

I believe the tax money toward public art benefits the local tourism economy and public appearances. My vote: better than building professional stadiums. -Steven Larson, Duluth, MN

Art is a good use of taxpayers’ money when it creates a cultural environment that brings businesses and jobs to the area, especially young families and entrepreneurs. -Lauren, Minneapolis, MN

Art and culture is always an easy target in times of economic hardship but many would argue that it is these times when we need art and culture the most as a way to give ourselves perspective and to create dialog and a sense of community. To many public art can seem to be a luxury but for most it is a necessity as it is a component of the environment we live in. In the same way that one pays attention to aesthetic detail in their homes shouldn’t we also give our communities that same treatment? There also tends to be a notion that public art is competing for dollars that would otherwise go to social services and this is rarely the case. -Melinda Childs, Minneapolis, MN

Simple: ALWAYS! Art improves everyones quality of life! -anonymous text message