Appleton committee recommends moving controversial sculpture

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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - A controversial sculpture in downtown Appleton might have to move.

While some people living nearby on East College Avenue like it, others say it's scary and in poor taste.

"I don't mean to hurt the artist's feelings, but it is not appealing to the eyes. Public art is supposed to be inspiring and uplifting, and this isn't,' said Francesca Romero of Appleton.

Barbara Agness of Appleton disagreed, saying, "Art can be controversial, but it should be a conversation piece, which I love it, I love it."

People on both sides spoke out before the city's Municipal Services Committee on Monday afternoon which ultimately voted 4-1, recommending that it be re-located.

The sculpture, which was put in place without neighborhood notification, is called the "Collective," and it's a huge head, made up of tiny faces, which were created using old propane tanks.

Alderperson Patti Coenen, who serves as chair of the Municipal Services Committee said,"Typically with the city we notify of parking changes, construction, rezoning, and all kinds of other things. They were not notified of this, the policy has not changed going forward in the future, anything going into a residential, they will be notified."

The location was previously selected by the city for Sculpture Valley's Acre of Art exhibition which rotates in new sculptures around the city every two years.

Sculpture Valley Executive Director Alex Schultz told the committee, "I would say for those who have suggested it be moved to a more appropriate location, I'd like to know where that location might be. The potential sites for public art, particularly of this scale, in downtown Appleton or along College Avenue are extremely limited."

If the sculpture does have to move, right now, it is unclear where it would go within the city.

The full council is expected to vote January 22nd.