Michigan artist to keep outdoor art after public support

Associated Press
In this Aug. 30, 2018 photo, artist Robert Park works on The Blue Loop,a 1,000-foot art installation on his property in Bath Township, Mich. Public support has helped Park keep his outdoor art installation after officials initially ruled that the thousands of found objects violated an anti-junk ordinance.

Bath Township – A Michigan artist will be allowed to keep his outdoor art installation of thousands of found objects that officials ruled violated an anti-junk ordinance, after an outpouring of public support.

Bath Township officials on March 18 voted to drop the case against artist Robert Park and “The Blue Loop” – the exhibit displayed on his property along a 1,000-foot (300-meter) stretch of path, the Lansing State Journal reported.

More: Blue rubber ducks show support for mid-Michigan artist

Park has agreed to build a fence on his property around the project, which features thousands of blue objects, trash and surplus items. He won’t be allowed to expand the project’s area, but can add pieces.

“I ended up with what I started with basically except I have to build a fence,” Park said. “It was a lot of time wasted, but that’s what human beings do.”

Officials cited Park in May for violating the township’s anti-junk ordinance, which bans the outdoor storage of junk.

The case went to court after Park refused to remove the items. A judge instructed Park to remove all of the items except for a blue plastic duck, but Park appealed the decision.

Residents began attending township meetings, purchasing small blue rubber ducks and putting up signs to show their support of the art installation. Melissa Eggleston, a gallery owner and the chair of the Bath Public Art Committee, sold blue ducks in support of Park.

“I think for the community, it’s a big win for everybody,” Eggleston said. “Because his art piece was threatened, I was really inspired at how many stood up and defended him.”

Supervisor Jack Phillips was the sole vote against dropping the case against Park. Phillips, who said he doesn’t view the installation as art, fears officials will now have a difficult time enforcing the anti-junk ordinance.

“You’ve opened up the lantern now, and I don’t think you can stuff the genie back in the bottle,” he said.