I’m quoting Joe Nickell! Yeah!

golinsHere’s a story about Missoula’s “one percent for art” program.

Earlier, as you know, I was thinking about all the different things that make Portland, Ore., a cool city, and public art is one of ’em.

We have beautiful public art here, too. “Crossings,” the red X’s, is an interesting piece, and I’m looking forward to seeing “Go with the Flow,” by Mike Golins. That’s the sculpture that will be part of the new downtown Parking Garage.

Golins is pictured here, and photo editor Kurt Wilson was behind the lens.

The story is about whether those “one percent” dollars should be reserved for local artists.

Golins happens to be a Missoula metalworker, but Public Art Committee chairwoman Joan Jonkel believes limiting the art calls to only local or Missoula area artists dilutes the prominence of the award.

Jonkel also notes artists from around here win even when the competition is national – on the merits of their work. From the story:¬†“I don’t think Missoula artists need fear competing with anyone. They hold their own beautifully. They don’t need special treatment.”

Guess who else I’m going to quote now? Joe Nickell! Yeah! Oh. You knew that from the headline.

So every once in a while, one of my colleagues will say something so smart and quotable, I’ll wish that person was a source instead of a coworker.

Joe Nickell, who covered arts and entertainment for the Missoulian up until recently, chatted with me on Facebook about the “one percent for art” program in Missoula. Since he’s not a coworker anymore, and he said some insightful things, I’m going to share his words with you here:

“We are a provincial town where individual, local identity is central not only to our sense of self, but also to our appeal to the outside world. Yes, Missoula needs to be exposed to outside art; but in terms of building and reinforcing our identity, locally made art placed in highly visible locations is a powerful tool in bespeaking that character both to us who live here and to visitors from elsewhere.”

Nickell now works at Partners Creative, and if you find yourself missing his byline, you’ll want to read his book about Drummond artist Bill Ohrmann when it comes out.

I’m sure we’ll have the story. And I’ll plug it here, too. Miss your work, Joe! And your outfits.


In case you’ve never seen Joe, here’s a shot of him on one of his last days here. Michael Gallacher took that one.

— Keila Szpaller