A $600,000 frog sculpture that lights up, gurgles “sounds of nature” and carries a 10-foot fairy girl on its back could soon be greeting Defense Department employees who plan to start working at the $700 million Mark Center in Alexandria, Va. this fall. That is unless a new controversy over the price tag of the public art doesn’t torpedo the idea.
Decried as wasteful spending that will be seen by just a couple thousand of daily workers who arrive on bus shuttles, foes have tried to delay the decision, expected tomorrow, April 1. But in an E-mail, an Army Corps of Engineers official said that the decision can’t be held up because it would impact completion of the huge project.
With a decision deadline of April 1, I figured this had to be an April Fools’ Day gag. No such luck. The proposal by artist Cheryl Foster is proudly displayed on the City of Alexandria website, along with equally absurd wastes of taxpayer dollars like a magnolia sculpture (pretty sure you can grow a magnolia for under six figures) and a “robust, maintenance free, colorful and uplifting” bench. Yes, a bench. An uplifting bench.
A member of the advisory committee overseeing the project says just 2,500 people will pass by the sculpture each day.
$600,000 for a giant toad the artist says will “magically radiate” light? I wonder how much she’ll knock off the price tag if we’re willing to forgo whatever dark enchantments she uses to produce that “magical” amphibian glow.
Check out the photo of the proposed sculpture at Verum Serum, and get ready to wish this out-of-control government spending was just an April Fools’ hoax.