Freeport – Tutty was in downtown Freeport, Illinois this morning to visit four of his favorite ladies, Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Those astute (or maybe not so astute) in Freeport history will recognize these as names of the four pre-WWII Italian marble statutes which decorate the property of Freeport’s Carnegie library building.
These statues were a gift to the citizens of Freeport by W.T. Rawleigh and were brought to this country “duty free since they are objects of art, for civic donation and not for personal use” (Journal-Standard, September 29, 1932, Page 6, column 2). The marble statues are the work of the famous Ferdinand Vichi studio of Florence, Italy.
Being that Tutty’s four ladies are now over eighty-years-old, Tutty does not expect them to be blemish free or still have skin as smooth as a baby’s bottom. Decades of exposure to rain, sleet, snow, wind and sunshine will take a toll on everything. However, it would be nice if the well being of Tutty’s four ladies could come to the forefront in the discussion of Freeport’s “artistic” future.
Just this weekend there was an article of in the Journal-Standard of a new coalition brandishing a new agenda for downtown Freeport, the group is calling itself “City Centre Freeport” and has already secured a “pledge” from the Northwest Illinois Development Alliance of $10,000 annually for the next three years, according to the news story.
Of course City Centre Freeport includes a banker because like nearly all local groups that claim to have our best interest at heart they need to be able to spend our money before we even earn it, the Journal-Standard story did say that the group’s “current plan is to fund the revolving loan through bond sales; the bond debts would be repaid through TIF revenue.“
A representative of the Freeport Art Museum was quoted in the article as saying “What we’re really talking about here is creative place-making, and that’s a buzz-word that you hear a lot that’s basically how to harness the arts in these revitalization plans that contribute to the livability of a place. There are resources that the art museum can use to help this project.“
What the news story did not mention is why this group would be any better at handling tax increment finance dollars that the current downtown group, Freeport Downtown Development Foundation, or why the people comprising the new initiative did not try to seek a place on the FDDF board and go about change that way.
Right now the City of Freeport has had to borrow money just to be able to remodel our beloved and historic Carnegie library and to shore up the City Hall building. The last thing Freeport taxpayers need is yet another public body allocating limited tax dollars in a different direction.
Furthermore, and to the real point of this article, Tutty is very saddened by the fact we hear so much lip service about making Freeport an “artistic” destination when there has been no effort whatsoever made to nurture Tutty’s four ladies back to respectable public health.
If the City, or any other public body, has $5,000 of taxpayer money to give away to help create an artistic atmosphere in downtown Freeport, something needs to be done immediately to preserve and protect Tutty’s four precious ladies.
Tutty’s four ladies are true and genuine works of art and do more to provide Freeport with culture than any newly formed group could ever hope to provide with all the money in the world. Here are pictures of the way Tutty’s four ladies appeared today, with Spring first, followed by Summer, Autumn and Winter, the last being a head shot of Spring.
They are enough to make Tutty cry.
Tutty hopes that you appreciate these four ladies as much as Tutty does and hope you will express to local officials that they are in desperate need of public expenditure and should be top priority…otherwise we should stop trying to convince outsiders that we care anything about that which is real art and genuine culture.
As always, yours in honesty, Tutty Baker firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Tutty Baker. You can read more stories and commentary from Tutty Baker on his blog located at http://blumdoggle.blogspot.com/