Challenge for an Arts Town

Thank God, I’m not alone in the universe… There’s at least one other human being out there who thinks like I do. Witness the new design for a cell tower in Oceanside, CA.

old-tower.jpg new-tower.jpg

Now, if only we had some of our local artists working on new designs for the wind turbines…..


  1. Tracy Davis said:

    Cool! Thanks for the photos, Chip.

    January 8, 2007
  2. Chip Cuccio said:

    My pleasure, Tracy.

    As far as unsightly (and sometimes noisy) wind turbines, some of the coolest-looking, and the quietest power generation turbines that use mother nature as their power source, are the ones you can’t plainly see at all.
    (Search google for “ocean turbines”).

    January 8, 2007
  3. John Thomas said:

    One mans art is another mans clutter…

    Anything that sticks up 65 feet in the air is going to be noticable as something that does not ordinarily belong there.

    I still like the camoflauged ones that you have to look for. For example, I love the ones that the put on the Grand Theater downtown. A little paint, and you do not even realize that they are there.

    Problem is, in areas without tall buildings or other objects of height, a tower seems like the only answer.

    January 8, 2007
  4. kiffi summa said:

    “Pie in the sky” once again….. well, not quite “pie”. When is anyone ever going to get serious about issues like can NF be an “artsTown”? I personally think, for its size it already is an AT. But where’s the financial support? this idea/dream/hope is never going anywhere unless the city council gets on board with some real support, and that means Money, and it better be Mucho!
    This town can’t run on volunteers forever. The NDDC is the only org. that seems to be able to do that. Yes, I count Ross Currier as a volunteer of sorts; he certainly isn’t reimbursed for ALL he does.
    You need grants…BIG Grants to build an Arts Town, and you aren’t going to get them without significant local public $$$$$, for matching.
    And forget Arts Town if we can’t even summon the public will, the political will, the public capital, and the public pressure to keep one of our cultural icons, The Library, on its present site in the core downtown.
    Angst about this, guys and gals, while keeping the cell towers in the back of your minds.

    January 9, 2007
  5. Tracy Davis said:

    Kiffi, I’m dead serious about an Arts Town. Maybe this is the first (no, wait, I have that with Ross, this is the second) philosophical disagreement about what that really means.

    I was in another Arts Town recently – Sedona, AZ – and after a while, all the paintings, sculpture, glass, etc. started to look the same. Meanwhile their public art was not prominent, public squares were nonexistent, and their urban design features were abysmal.

    I agree with you that since we are fortunate enough to have a notable gem like the Library as one of our public buildings, we should recognize, cherish, and preserve it. But I’m a big proponent of applied arts and industrial design, and I believe an Arts Town should encompass those too. Big honkin’ cell towers and wind turbines that dominate the landscape by sheer virtue of their size make a strong visual statement about a place, and I don’t think that should be in the back of our minds.

    January 9, 2007
  6. kiffi summa said:

    DEAR Tracy, I know you’re serious about the AT concept; some people think Sedona is a “fakey” AT, because of the non-intellectual base to their development. I don’t know; I haven’t been there, and there are widely divergent IMHO’s about Sedona from people who have.But the same thing that makes horse races makes “art”; I happen to think our wind turbines are the epitome of elegant, efficient, industrial design. Really beautiful in exactly the same way a Brancusi sculpture is beautiful………same lines, forms, and fluidity.
    A recent visitor from Chicago said to me, “Wow, when you drive in to Northfield, and see those two windturbines bracketing the town, well, that tells you something about what your community stands for, doesn’t it?”
    Does to me, too… A sound philosophical base for positive development. I HOPE we can pull that off for the AT concept also.

    January 9, 2007
  7. John Thomas said:

    I too believe that those turbines make several statements.

    It says a lot that our colleges are forward thinking enough to go and get what needs to get done, done, so that they are there. The other statement is why can’t the city get involved in a “sustainable” resource program? The city should have a grant writer on staff, and we should be going after all sorts of renewable projects.

    Personally, I would like to see Northfield encircled with Wind Turbines, and covered with solar panels. I would love to see enough turbines to power the whole city (any idea on how many that would take?)

    Kiffi, I have seen you in so many areas of our community, and never stopped to thank you for all you do. Your work at the council meetings, as well as with the LWV is outstanding. Your thoughts and comments are always two or three steps ahead of everyone else. The recent post about a consolidated list of meeting places was brilliant. Thank you for continually speaking up.

    For a town of our size, we have so many wonderful people trying to make so much happen. There is so much stuff I would like to see get off the ground:

    Arts Town is one.

    The Non-Motorized transportation committee is another.

    I would like to see the NDDC get stronger. I would like to see the results of the downtown beautification/streetscape completed.

    I would like to see something “productive” happen in Ames Park, other than a place for our geese to make deposits.

    I would like to see the Mill Towns Trailhead implemented, with a “logical” method that goes THROUGH downtown, instead of around it. BTW, Fifth street is around in my opinion. I would like to see it come down fourth, into Bridge Square, with a place to park and lock bikes, then proceed in front of the post office to fifth, then across the bridge to the trailhead. Moving it from fourth over to fifth at the old middle school, yanks it away from downtown. In doing so, your pulling possible tourism $$ away from downtown.

    I would like to see downtown much more bike and pedestrian friendly and less emphasis on vehicles. (BTW, a 30 MPH speed limit through downtown, even with stop signs, as well as Tractor Trailers allowed on Division Street are both ridiculous.)

    I am a firm supporter of a “Loop” around downtown, that utilizes Washington Street and Water Street from Second to Seventh. Close Division down to vehicles completely. Offer free public parking on the loop, and you would have to walk approximately 1 block to the businesses downtown. Offer outdoor dining, and performances downtown. Make downtown a place where we can all gather again. Closing the street makes a BUNCH more space for some great public art as well!

    Both of you, Keep up the great work!

    -John Thomas

    January 9, 2007
  8. Holly Cairns said:

    Yes, thank you Kiffi.

    Wind turbines = Good idea to get artsy. We’re an art town, after all. The current wind turbines don’t bother me, but beautiful is better.

    Here’s a good wind turbine design?,,1530668,00.html

    AND, I’ve heard something about residential, spiral, wind turbines. Enough power for a Minnesota residence?

    Maybe all of us could have our own low-wind-speed, miniature sized turbines mounted right on our own rooftops– and we could be connected to the grid only for times we really need it…

    January 9, 2007
  9. Lance Heisler said:

    The Carleton turbine is on my bike route. I confess I’m not a fan of modern design. I’d rather it looked like an old fashion windmill, but for some reason biking past these modern sleek monsters always gives me a bit of a rush. It doesn’t detract from my enjoyment of this great historic town. Maybe its because it signals a town with ideas. Not the worst image to project.

    January 9, 2007

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