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Makes no sense why tribe was not consulted

Dear Editor,

Regarding the article by Helen Tomlin about the objection to local petroglyph art by the city.

I recall the meetings the city had that were open to the public as they discussed what they wanted to do with the median art spaces. I remember my frustration as the focus seemed to already be behind one singular idea, petroglyphs. I took the podium to request we broaden our scope to cover other fascinating areas of our history such as mining, weapons development, wild mustangs wrangling, etc. I pointed out places like Sedona that didn’t limit the artists to fit in a box, but accepted art of a variety of styles and topics, though they all seem to reflect the beauty of the area. I suggested artists might not be excited to be given rigid parameters of style considering artists tend to thrive with freedom of expression. I remember Skip Gorman addressing my thoughts and saying all that can be achieved through the filter of petroglyphs.

I believe there are around 24 or so installation locations along China Lake Blvd and noticed over the years how few art installations ended up taking those spaces and it seems to me the majority of them are done by one or two artists. I always wondered if the lack of interest from community artists was because of what I warned about.

A toxic trait of Ridgecrest has always been how we get behind a single idea and can then be unbending. This trait, though coming from well-meaning citizens who love Ridgecrest as much as I do, seems to have bit us in the, once again.

I understand the concern of the Kawaiiau representatives. It makes no sense why they were never consulted or brought in as partners in the petroglyph projects. I’m certain the intent wasn’t to disrespect them or their heritage, but sometimes we have to stop the forward momentum of our stampede to see who might be affected.

Lorin Smith