Saturday, December 10th, 2016

Painting public art by numbers

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Since Laurel Walker’s article appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a number of Mayor Scrima supporters (or one under different names) has taken to denying that the mayor could have possibly suggested painting over a the wall sculpture at city hall. I had an e-mail conversation with the mayor the other day about that very topic. I’m posting the e-mails and Scrima’s responses. I put my questions are in italics for easier reading.

Good Morning Mayor Scrima,

I just saw the article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this morning regarding painting the wall sculpture at city hall. Is this still under consideration?

James Wigderson


Hi James –

This, along with all public art in city hall, is up to the Public Art Committee. I’m not aware that they’ve made a decision yet

Jeff Scrima
Mayor, City of Waukesha

Thanks. Were you aware that the work in question was an original work of art when you made the request?

James Wigderson


We were only discussing possibilities for all public art throughout city hall

If you like, I can make sure you are invited to the next meeting

Let me know. Thanks

Jeff Scrima
Mayor, City of Waukesha

That’s fine. But I’m trying to understand how the idea of painting the wall sculpture came to be considered. Were you aware that it was an original work, and are you still planning on recommending having it painted?

James Wigderson


Hi James –

I simply raised the question, along with several other questions, to stimulate discussion.

This was a brain storming session.

The only thing I am recommending is that the walls be painted and we keep the collection of historic pictures.

Jeff Scrima
Mayor, City of Waukesha

Okay, when you brought up the idea at the brainstorming session, did you know the sculpture was an original work of art?

Unfortunately the mayor never did answer my question. However, it is clear from his answers that the mayor was the one who made the suggestion. I don’t know what art school Scrima attended that qualifies him to suggest painting other people’s works of art. Regardless of whether or not you’re a die-hard Scrima supporter who believes he can do no wrong, Scrima really deserves ridicule for this. Brainstorming session or not, that was just idiotic.

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