$50,000 in art suggested for Athens jail

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ATHENS, Ga. -- Advisers are recommending that the Athens-Clarke Commission spend $50,000 on public art when the Clarke County Jail is expanded next year.

“Our research confirmed to us that jails, justice and detention centers across the country are incorporating art into their buildings or programs to visually communicate that they are community centers housing community members,” Athens Cultural Affairs Commission Chairwoman Marilyn Wolf-Ragatz wrote in a letter to commissioners.

“Adding an art element to this civic building reflects a respect this community has for the many citizens who pass through there daily. Art has also been demonstrated to have a calming and therapeutic effect on family and visitors who find themselves in an otherwise stressful and intimidating environment. We believe and feel strongly that art can communicate in a positive way that Athens cares about all of its citizens and can help the public understand the jail’s stated commitment to sensitive, fair and courteous service while respecting human dignity.”

Commissioners did not discuss the ACCA’s recommendation at an agenda-setting meeting Thursday night but left it on the agenda for discussion prior to Jan. 3 vote.

If approved, the artwork should be installed in a public area and be an integral part of the building, Wolf-Ragatz said. The ACCA will recommend a design and site once the commission approves the $50,000 amount, she said.

A law the commission passed in 2010 required it to spend at least 1 percent of new public buildings’ construction budgets on art unless they deemed the building unsuitable for public art. Commissioners approved a $76 million budget and preliminary plans for the jail in November without an earmark for public art after realizing they would have to spend nothing or at least $520,000 on art at the jail. They voted earlier this month to change the law for sales tax-funded projects so they could spend less than 1 percent.

The project, approved by voters as part of a 2010 sales tax referendum, will double the size of the outdated and overcrowded jail to 790 beds.

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tckr1983
368
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tckr1983 12/16/11 - 11:10 am
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And you wonder why this

And you wonder why this country is 15+ trillion in debt? What part of this makes sense? Prison became jail became community center? WOW.

Willow Bailey
20606
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Willow Bailey 12/16/11 - 11:13 am
0
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Insanity. No wonder the

Insanity. No wonder the country is broke.

augusta citizen
10700
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augusta citizen 12/16/11 - 11:23 am
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What the heck!! I mean it's

What the heck!! I mean it's hard to even believe the absurdity!!!

Little Lamb
53073
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Little Lamb 12/16/11 - 11:28 am
0
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They could save money by

They could save money by calling it an art gallery and let artists show their art there for free in hopes of making a sale later. The inmates wouldn't care either way.

Asitisinaug
4
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Asitisinaug 12/16/11 - 11:55 am
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What planet are these people

What planet are these people from? Absurd!!

Willow Bailey
20606
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Willow Bailey 12/16/11 - 12:18 pm
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Ok, who on the gov. decision

Ok, who on the gov. decision making level is a relative or friend of the artist(s)?

burninater
11066
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burninater 12/16/11 - 12:25 pm
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Well, it's hard to argue with

Well, it's hard to argue with the fact that jails currently are very good at producing repeat offenders. Why not try to adopt different strategies when your current strategy repeatedly fails? This represents less than a tenth of one percent of the prison budget. Although LL is right, if they approached this more intelligently they could likely get artists to show and/or donate art for free.

Personally, I'm a little more outraged at the $76 million dollars spent on a facility that will do very little to prevent crime. It's primarily environment, not genetics, that creates a criminal. Take a crook out of that environment while leaving that environment unchanged and someone inevitably is going to take their place.

upshaw34
0
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upshaw34 12/16/11 - 12:32 pm
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Burninater, you state that

Burninater, you state that the expense for this artwork is "less than a tenth of one percent of the prison budget", and yet, many Georgia state certified Police Officers haven't gotten a raise in 5 years! Maybe, if we look hard enough, we may find more wasted money and can actually give our Police Officers enough money to live on!?!

I say, give the inmates crayons and let them make their own artwork.

BamaMan
3131
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BamaMan 12/16/11 - 01:07 pm
0
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Well, I've heard it all.

Well, I've heard it all. You've GOT to be kidding.

eagle
94
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eagle 12/16/11 - 01:40 pm
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I needed a good laugh today
Unpublished

I needed a good laugh today and this article certainly provided that. Save lots of money...put the inmates in tents and, as Upshaw recommended, give them crayons.

stillamazed
1489
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stillamazed 12/16/11 - 01:40 pm
0
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Come on guys you all know

Come on guys you all know that all those prisoners have an appreciation for the finer things in life, including art. NOT:)

raul
7202
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raul 12/16/11 - 02:55 pm
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A law the commission passed

A law the commission passed in 2010 required it to spend at least 1 percent of new public buildings’ construction budgets on art unless they deemed the building unsuitable for public art.

Sounds like their commissioners equal ours, and not in a good way.

madgerman
236
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madgerman 12/16/11 - 05:35 pm
0
0
Art is in the eye of the
Unpublished

Art is in the eye of the beholder. I still remember the cost of the signage project that we in augusta paid thousands for and I still haven't seen a sign. Or better yet look at the fancy street lights for the bums downtown. We would be better off worrying about Augusta and leaving Athens alone.

autumnlady55
7
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autumnlady55 12/16/11 - 08:19 pm
0
0
what the heck?

what the heck?

Jake
36956
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Jake 12/16/11 - 08:31 pm
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Along the lines of what LL

Along the lines of what LL and upshaw34 said, I say give them art supplies, if they show good behavior, and let them hang their own pieces up. It may give them some self esteem or encourage them in a positive way. If not, just hang them up.

Little Lamb
53073
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Little Lamb 12/16/11 - 08:46 pm
0
0
They can have some of my

They can have some of my hang-ups, Jake.

:-)

harley_52
30740
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harley_52 12/16/11 - 09:45 pm
0
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That we're even discussing

That we're even discussing such an issue is proof of more than one of the problems we face as a society.

Willow Bailey
20606
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Willow Bailey 12/16/11 - 10:15 pm
0
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Government...the ultimate

Government...the ultimate form of welfare. Spending money they didn't earn, given to them by people they don't know or care about, throwing it away as quickly as possible and on anything they can find.

Money means nothing to them, because they didn't earn a penny of it.

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
33
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Crime Reports and Rewards TV 12/16/11 - 11:11 pm
0
0
Moving the art closer to the

Moving the art closer to the art theives. Brilliant.

Patty-P
3521
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Patty-P 12/16/11 - 11:33 pm
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Who says inmates don't

Who says inmates don't deserve the finer things in life.

Haki
31
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Haki 12/17/11 - 02:26 am
0
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States rights. How about

States rights. How about blaming the State of Georgia.

JRC2024
13558
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JRC2024 12/17/11 - 10:10 am
0
0
Inmates do not deserve this.

Inmates do not deserve this.

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