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Artist Responds To Raleigh Art Project Controversy

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The artist at the center of a public art controversy has responded to Raleigh's decision to send his plans back to the drawing board.

Earlier this week, leaders got to see a mock-up of Jaume Plensa's design for Fayetteville Street. In a unanimous decision, the Raleigh City Council tasked the Art Commission to work with Plensa to modify the plans based on several concerns, including the view from the state Capitol to Memorial Auditorium. Plensa's design calls for water and 30-foot-high lights stretching across a 10,000-square-foot area.

In a statement, Plensa said nothing can be achieved without some compromise. He also said he hopes the City Council will take this into consideration as it wrestles with the problems of traffic flow and budgetary realities.

Other city leaders, including Raleigh City Manager Russell Allen, have recommended shelving the proposed project because it is already $2 million over budget and because of engineering concerns related to the size of the columns to hold up the lights and having water running over an underground parking garage.

The initial gift of $2.5 million has been pledged by WRAL's parent company, Capitol Broadcasting Co.

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