GSA and VA team to waste money on artwork

“These artworks enhance the civic meaning of federal architecture and showcase the vibrancy of American visual arts.” – GSA website.

Just when you think you have heard everything about the Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals with the mishandling of cases involving our warriors who put their lives on the line for us, new scandals have surfaced.

Rock Sculpture

This sculpture, “Aggregate,” by Phillip K. Smith, was purchased for $483,000 for the courtyard of the VA hospital in Palo Alto, California. (Rep. Jeff Miller/Wash. Post)

Thanks to Rep. Jeff Miller(R-FL), the story of rampant wasteful spending on artwork for VA facilities, has been uncovered.

A $483,000 rock sculpture, meant to evoke “a sense of transformation, rebuilding and self-investigation,” has become part of a $1.3 million courtyard at the VA’s Palo Alto, Calif. Hospital.

At least $6.3 million has been spent on art and consulting services in the Palo Alto Health Care System, including $4, 190, 356 at the Palo Alto Medical Center, $1, 879,521 at the Monterey Health Care Center, and $280, 000 in other budgeted projects.

It’s all part of the Government Services Administration Art in Architecture Program, “to enhance the civic meaning of federal architecture and showcase the vibrancy of American visual arts.”


This sculpture, “Blue Eclipse, ” by Cliff Garten is one of two pieces purchased for $250,000. (Rep. Jeff Miller/Wash. Post)

I’m sure that vets in need of care find it difficult to agree with the GSA’s statement that “the art and architecture of federal buildings create a lasting cultural legacy for the people of the United States.”

Personally, I appreciate art and believe, when properly placed in and around facilities, can enhance and add to a certain comfort to the public. However, artwork for VA facilities might better be paid for by contributions provided by companies of the military-industrial complex and private donations.

Bad news about happenings at the VA doesn’t stop there. A hospital being built in Aurora, Colo. for some 400,000 vets in Colorado and nearby states was to cost $328 million, but costs of the still unfinished facility has now hit $1.7 billion.

Wait, there’s more. Two senior executives misused their positions to be paid hundreds of thousands of dollars when they moved to new positions, according to the agency’s inspector general, who also discovered that the agency used transfers to override a freeze on raises.

It’s all part of Big Government folks. It has to stop.



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