1% for Authenticity

2009 is definitely the year to try to make the World a better place.  If 2,000 to 2010 will be the decade of greed, then let’s make 2010 to 2020 the decade of “authenticity”. The age of “What you see is what you get”.  Showing what you ARE vs. what you think you should show them to get them to choose you.

Many years ago, 1% of the budget for building new construction in many big cities had to include 1% for “art”.  I remember the authentic ones of my time.

Aspring to Authenticy

Aspring to Authenticity

Authentic Art is about what IS, or what one at least HOPES TO BE.  Philadelphia’s been hoping to be The City of Brotherly Love for a very long time, long before this artwork made the scene in Love Park at JFK Center in 1978.  It’s a lasting reminder of what the City is supposed to be all about.

City of Clothespins?

City of Clothespins?

When they put this 45′ clothespin up outside my office window across from City Hall in 1976, many of us were not happy with the choice.  It was 1976.  It was the bi-centennial of a great city.  What did clothespins have to do with that?  Yet the artist’s view of Philadelphia was one of city folk hanging clothes by clothespins out of their apartment windows…I guess.  That’s what they get for hiring an artist who never lived in Philadelphia.  Wasn’t very authentic, even less so today,I’m sure.

So what is “authentic”, what would 1% for Authenticity look like?

Longaberger Building in Ohio

Longaberger Building in Ohio

Back in 1993 or so, I gave these Longaberger Baskets as closing gifts.  I hired a woman to bake home made sweet breads to put in the baskets, that people could eat while unpacking at their new home. 

Wouldn’t it be great if all businesses and professionals were that obvious?  Imagine having a meeting at Longaberger and trying to find the building.  Would you need a GPS when “within range” to find that place?

What would Authenticity look like?


Enter at your own risk

Enter at your own risk

The receptionist at the bottom would assign an evaluator.  Alt-A loan? – 4th floor.  NINJA Loan? Top Floor.  The visual and the feeling of being on the top floor, with the perception of little support underneath would say it all…no?

Look around the big cities with the 1% art rule.  You can spot them, because over the years the impact has been dramatic with only 1% going toward art.  What will 1% of time, effort and resources going toward authenticity look like, a decade from now?