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MICHAEL BURTCH: ARTIST

SCULPTOR, MUSICIAN, WRITER, SET DESIGNER

CONSULT PUBLIC FIRST: ARTS ADVOCATE


By Brian Kelly

The Sault Star

Local residents should have been consulted before the City of Sault Ste. Marie decided to remove several nude statues from the John Rhodes Centre , says the vice-president of the Arts Council of Sault Ste. Marie & District.

"I'm shocked that they're being taken down to be altered or changed from their original artistic creation without public consultation," said Wendy Hamilton.

"I'd like to know who complained and why the city is so quick to react."

Joe Fratesi, the city's chief administrative officer, said staff has received some complaints about the sculptures suggesting

they are not appropriate for a city-owned facility.

He added the fasteners securing the figures may not be strong enough, so the artwork must be taken down and their attachments reinforced.

Created by local artist Michael Burtch, the sculptures celebrate what the human body is capable of achieving in numerous athletic activities, said Hamilton.

"The human form is beautiful and to be celebrated - especially an athlete." she said. "An athlete is the ultimate visual expression of the human body."

"The debate over nudity and art has raged for hundreds of years- Michelangelo's 16th century statue of David is one example - but Hamilton could not recall a similar controversy resulting from the work of a local artist.
It's a human being and that's the way we all look,." she said of Burtch's work. "I'm personally not offended by the human form."

The Arts Council of Sault Ste. Marie & District is a non-profit, charitable organization dedicated to the promotion and development of the arts.

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