Mayor Chris Beutler today announced the City is discontinuing negotiations with New York artist Tom Otterness for a sculpture in the West Haymarket area. He has withdrawn the Otterness contract from today's West Haymarket Joint Public Agency agenda, and he issued the following statement:
"The West Haymarket development and the Pinnacle Bank Arena have unified our community like never before. People are proud of what we have accomplished and feel a great optimism about the future as the result of our success. It is important to keep this momentum alive.
"Unfortunately, some people are not happy about the proposal to purchase the Tom Otterness art piece for the area. They are concerned about the artist's past actions and have expressed their displeasure. I do not want the choice of this artist to create bad feelings about the Arena and West Haymarket, which have been and will continue be extremely positive for our City..
"Art plays an important role in our society. It is often intended to provoke thought and reaction, stimulate discussion and expand our humanity. But the artist's past behavior in this instance has created a level of division in the community that is not acceptable.
"At this time, it is in the best interests of the City to discontinue the contract process and continue to move forward in a positive and unified direction."