Archive for the ‘Southeast’ Category

Save Airstream Ranch?

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

Frank Bates has built himself a sculpture garden along I-4 in Seffner, Florida. The garden consists of six Airstream mobile homes submerged in the dirt and protruding out as some noble monument to something or other. Needless to say the neighbors weren’t terribly thrilled over this display.

Defending himself in court Bates argued that the Airstreams were a work of art. A crowd came out to support him wearing “Save Airstream Ranch” t-shirts and scholars from the area, including the President of Ringling School of Art and Design, came out in defense of the monument. Well the court didn’t turn out to be very sympathetic and Bates was fined $100 a day until he takes down his masterpiece — or eyesore depending on your point of view.

For the record the issue’s not whether the Airstream Ranch is a work of art or not. Considering some of the outrageous things that have earned that title this is downright conservative. Let’s just say the bar for what is and isn’t art has been set pretty low. The issue is whether or not you’re allowed to get all up in people face with your art. You’d think if bates was the least bit considerate he’d have talked to his neighbors about this before he began.

It’s a zoning problem. Churches deal with this occasionally and the ACLU has come to their defense. The argument is that stopping a church from building an ugly steel shed right in the middle of your quaint little down is a violation of their religious liberty. So theoretically stopping Bates from burying motor homes in his front yard can be seen as a violation of his right to free speech and expression.