DONE DEAL: $180,000 Crosswalk Art + $30k A Year

On November 6th, City Manager Peter Iglesias signed an agreement for the acquisition of the artwork Induction Chromatique Coral Gables by Master Carlos Cruz-Diez for $180,000 and approximately $30,000 a year in maintenance costs. The crosswalk artwork is in front of City Hall along Biltmore Way.

The initial $180,000 purchase costs will be funded by the Art Acquisition Fund which is funded by new development in the City Beautiful. The on-going maintenance comes with an estimated $300,000 price tag over 10 years and will come from the taxpayer-funded general operations fund.

In 2017, Mayor Raul Valdes-Fauli sought out Master artist Carlos Cruz-Diez for a public exhibition during Art Basel and Miami Art Week.  The exhibition of painted crosswalks, Induction Chromatique, was installed in front of City Hall and at the intersection near the Coral Gables Museum by Ruth’s Chris and Café Abbracci (Aragon and Salzedo).

After the temporary exhibition, the Arts Advisory Panel and Cultural Development Board were presented with a proposal for acquisition of the designs in front of City Hall along with a maintenance plan.

In January 2018, Coral Gables’ Historical Resources and Cultural Arts Director, Dona Spain, advised the Arts Advisory Panel that to keep the crosswalks looking their best, due to the various colors, the design should be painted four times (4x) a year, making the maintenance budget of the piece approximately $60,000 per year ($15,000 per painting).

The Arts Advisory Panel at their January 24th, 2018 meeting made a motion not to approve the expenditure for the acquisition of the Cruz-Diez crosswalk and passed unanimously because of the high on-going maintenance costs.

Again, at the February 28th, 2018 Arts Advisory Panel meeting, the Cruz-Diez artwork was discussed. This time with representatives from Logistics Fine Arts, the company responsible for the installation and proposed maintenance of the Cruz-Diez crosswalks for the temporary Art Basel installation. They made their case for permanent acquisition and proposed two maintenance cost options, one for $18,000 with Logistics Fine Arts handling everything or $13,000 with Logistics masking the design and the City contracting the painting work.

The board members expressed their concerns with the on-going maintenance costs and similar works of art in Wynwood that are in bad shape.

They say third time is a charm, because at the April 25th, 2018 Arts Advisory Panel meeting, Logistics Fine Arts representatives Ninoska Huerta, Jose Moreno and Nella Daes made another push and addressed board member concerns. A motion was made to move forward with the acquisition and passed unanimously.

After the passing of the item at the Arts Advisory Panel, the item went to the Cultural Development Board in May 2018 where the item was taken up, discussed and ultimately passed 6-1.

On July 27th, 2019, Master Cruz-Diez passed away at the age of 95.

At the August 27th 2019 City Commission meeting, the commission unanimously approved the acquisition with conditions.

The motion made my Commissioner Mike Mena, seconded by Commissioner Pat Keon included to purchase the artwork at said costs, however with a few conditions. Mena asked that the vendor warranty their work and the city clear up the ordinary wear and tear language in the contract. In addition, Mena asked the city attorneys make the annual $18,000 payment conditional on yearly Miami-Dade County approval for the crosswalk installation.

In a recent email from Coral Gables Assistant City Attorney, Cristina Suarez to Commissioner Jorge Fors Jr., Suarez highlighted the sections in the contract that meet the commission’s conditional approval for the artwork acquisition and maintenance contract. Several elected officials found out about the re-painting through the city’s social media account and not through staff.

However, some elected officials were under the impression the item would come back before them for further discussion on the on-going maintenance costs; specifically where the $30,000 per year would come from.

After the recent expenditure for the Cruz-Diez crosswalk art, the city has a remaining $2,163,732 in the Art Acquisition Fund.

The next City Commission meeting is Tuesday, December 10th.


19 thoughts on “DONE DEAL: $180,000 Crosswalk Art + $30k A Year

  1. The comments above seem to reflect the same common themes over and over again. The city employees/commissioners DO NOT LISTEN to the taxpayers. And they don’t have to because only 26% vote and the employees cannot be fired from their overpaid, rich pension jobs because of the unions. The money spent on “art”, the nearly $30 million of taxpayer money that goes to the black hole of the massive $260 million unfunded pension liability ( the employees complain bitterly about the measly $4 million they contribute) could be spent on infrastructure. And most damaging of all to our once beautiful city is the mega development they keep approving so they can increase tax revenue. Vince Lago and Jorge Fors are the only ones who listen to the taxpayers and act on our behalf. Get the rest of them out of there. VOTE!!!

  2. It seems the great majority of Gables Residents think the Art Work (this, and Audrey) are out of place. I’d like to add my name to that list.

  3. So much money spent on artwork that will be ruined. What about residential safety and street lights. Some street are so dark that driving without the high beams on the head lights and walking without a flash light are very unsafe. Has anyone in the government of Coral Gables ever hear of SAFETY FIRST. Please spend our hard earned money wisely.

  4. This is what happens when our employees don’t listen to the Coral Gables residents who pay their salaries. And spend our money like it’s theirs. Only we have to budget our households. Only we sacrifice and don’t spend the money that we may not have. Why can’t our city government do the same ? Citizens we need to regroup and join together and get our government to actually serve us.
    Okay I have to get back to work.

  5. I add my voice to the dissent. One of the reasons people live in CG, young or old, is because of the Mediterranean style architecture. If it wanted edgy 🙄 art they would choose Wynwood, the Design District or Mimo. Audrey the Man Eating Flower, the Giralda project, and this Crosswalk (already marred at Biltmore Way and Le Jeune” ) are out of place. The City doesn’t listen to its citizens; but then it doesn’t have to. At the last mayoral election only 26% of voters turned out.

  6. The City Commissioners play around with our tax dollars like kids in a sandbox. Our property taxes are exorbitant. Yet when I have suggested to the Commissioners that they reduce them, they look at me like I am crazy. Donna Spain is a disgrace. She heads a staff of six or seven over paid bureaucrats who are supposed to maintain the historicity of the City. Instead they approve every whim of the spendthrift Commissioners such as the Segovia Circle metal flowers, this cross-walk painting and the 22 million dollar cobblestones on Miracle Mile. When will my fellow taxpayers wake up and demand that Commissioners reduce taxes!

  7. Outrageous expenditure! I am no art critic, but my grandchildren could have drawn the same design in chalk while playing hopscotch — for free.
    This isn’t even “art” that we could dump on some unsuspecting schlub in the future. We are stuck with it, just like the malfunctioning flowers. .
    Way to go, Commissioners!

  8. I think shameful is the correct word used by Mr. Cabrera. It’s amazing how my tax dollars are being spent

  9. ………………

    Awesome !

    ~Too bad about those once green city swales right across Le Jeune Road from the Gables mall and two more currently being destroyed by all the illegal parking for a local neighborhood nuisance and those No Parking Anytime signs also knocked down and..removed.

    And still no response from city hall regarding often dangerous street flooding in our neighborhood.


  10. A complete waste of taxpayer dollars to satisfy the whimsical desires of a few influential people.
    Not the first decision that is a “slap in the face” to CG taxpayers but surely a decision NOT made with the majority in mind!!!

  11. Incredible waste of money and poor decision.

    How can the City officials think painting sidewalks, which look “good” for a few days only in our weather, is an intelligent use of taxpayer funds? Plus–an annual maintenance requirement–what a ridiculous, dumb expense.

    Someone must have a hidden agenda here since this expense (not an investment) makes absolutely no sense.

  12. Art in public places is a great thing. Yes, fix the potholes, but keep the art going. It’s what makes our City a desireable place to live. I remember as a kid the roads in Coral Gables were lumpy and irregular. The nice thing about that was cars would not speed down the streets! Maybe disrepair is a good thing.

  13. Does the taxpayer money needs to be spend in these kind of unnecessary projects?
    The Big Horrible Metal Flower and now art at the crossing of the roads?
    Why we need art when the are roads and holes need to be repair?

    The beauty of Coral Gables is its marvelous greenery, palms and flowers that already has, actually such a beautiful city is a master work of natural art.

    If City managers who where are paid by citizens, and the Officials that were elected by the citizens, do not have an agenda to work in the real needs of Coral Gables, lets just help them to start making a list of priorities:
    No 1. Priority: Coral Gables City Septic Tanks old and updated sistem, that will burst as the sea level keeps rising, why do not work in replacing them, before even thinking in trying decorating the crossing of the roads?.

  14. Marcelo, the way it was presented was confusing, but ultimately you got it… It’s $180,000 and then approx $30k per year for 10 years to maintain and re-paint.

  15. I agree with Ms. Goicouria, the infrastructure maintaining our roads is horrible. There are pot holes everywhere. I have called to have some repaired, they do a poor patch job that wears away quickly. Money should be spent to fix our roads and not on an art project to paint a road!

  16. Another big mistake from the elected officials! They didn’t learn from the horrible flower’s sculptures!

  17. Why is the City so concerned about the art work and nothing is being done to repair the roadways that are in such bad condition? Good examples are 48th street in front of the Riviera Country Club and University Dr. between Segovia and Granada. Another area which is deplorable is the area surrounding the monstrous construction site between Ponce and Galiano. Some how the City has been able to protect Ponce De Leon from being destroyed but has totally neglected Galiano and all the side streets surrounding the construction which seems it will take forever to finish due to its size.

  18. This is the most confusing article ever.

    Is the cost $180,000 or $18,000? Both are cited in the article. Is the maintenance cost $30,000 or $18,000, both are cited in the article.

    But if it is $180,000 with $30,000 maintenance costs, this is the most stupid expenditure of City money in years. As a long-time Gables resident, I totally protest this waste of my tax payer dollars.

    For that kind of money the Coral Gables Museum could have had 15 amazing exhibitions of young or undiscovered talent free to the public and it would have been a much better use.

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