You've got to be a serious art snob to not realize the best PUBLIC art has come from the public. The public loves this!!!
This stuff has for the most part been genuine, meaningful, entertaining, and inspirational to the public. This reflects our community. Lemonade out of (government sponsored) lemons.
Lots of places throw art at its community. Encinitas is on the map when it comes to art from its community.
You can not say that about the "magic carpet ride", which was well crafted. The Cardiff Kook came across as reflective of the community as an airport trinket AND it depicts someone having trouble managing his surfboard (at best, what is the guy doing anyways?). Surfers see it right away. No matter how tempting, you can't respond by saying screw the surfers, it just doesn't compute given the context and composition.
The fact so many of the details of the statue are "just wrong" and this was not recognized by the artist, civic, city or county sponsors symbolized the LOSS of our soulful beach town character and a transition to a shallow poser community that had no idea about the sensibilities of the surf community they were trying to capitalize upon. In many ways the statue does actually capture the horrifying evolution of our community.
Making things even more risky, its real tough to celebrate a community that has a long history of desiring not to be celebrated (they should have known this). The magic carpet ride was thrown at the community and told to like it because we don't know art.
The statue would never have passed the public smell test if this PUBLIC art had been put out for REAL public review (BEFORE IT WAS TOO LATE). It saddens me to say that the 5 council members did not learn their lesson and made the same procedural error with the swamis carving (it will be there for years).
I know what a competent surfer looks like. I also know which art draws the crowds and which draws scoffs.
On the flip-side of things, because the county and the city have not done what needs to be done on the pension issues, there won't be much money available for bad government art in the future.