The Arts Council of Washington (ACOW) has suggested several locations around Washington to place six donated sculptures to the Washington Park Board.
“I think we have some spots for them around town, but not necessarily in one place,” Rebecca Mayer told the park board at its meeting last Wednesday.
The arts council previously discussed finding a place to create a sculpture park, but those plans have changed.
Washington artist Larry Pogue donated the sculptures to the city in 2017. There are a total of nine sculptures with some of them being lit.
Mayer suggested that one of the lit sculptures, called “Chariots of Fire,” could be set up outside the entrance to city hall.
She also said two hanging sculptures and another one called “Orbit” could be erected on a wall at the Farmers’ Market. The hanging sculptures are 4 foot by 4 foot and fit flat to the wall. The specific wall she suggested is opposite of the one with the mural.
“I also thought the ‘Missouri Fish’ one might be nice down at the riverfront park,” she said, noting the sculpture fits best in the landscaped area in front of the restrooms.
Another sculpture called “Serendipity” could be installed in the landscaped circular area behind the Agnes Nolting Aquatics Complex, Mayer said.
“I just have one concern about the pool because I don’t know how much it costs to put these in, but if we’re going to be demolishing in that area in the next couple of years. . .” said Tessie Steffens, board member.
While the proposed new pool’s location has yet to be decided, talks of using the land the current pool sits on now have ensued.
Parks Director Wayne Dunker said since the sculptures will be mounted on concrete, they will be able to be moved easily.
Mayer’s last suggestion is to place a sculpture by the bench at Elm and Oak streets.
“That’s not putting them all out, but that’s a good number of them,” she said. “And we could see what happens as far as vandalism.”
Ideally, Mayer said the sculptures would be up this spring.
Several board members brought up the issue of cost, but Dunker said it will be minimal.
Mayer said the arts council will take care of priming and painting the walls, and it will be purchasing the plaques for some of the sculptures to display who created the art.
As for mounting the plaques, Mayer said she hopes she could get the parks department’s help.
The arts council also has the concrete already.
“The concrete is something we have from the bottom of old mailboxes,” she said.
Board member Sparky Stuckenschneider stated the proposed locations are centrally located to the downtown area and asked if locations outside of downtown had been considered.
“We’ll consider anywhere, but I get leery putting them in places where there’s not a lot of eyes on them,” Dunker responded.
Mayer noted she too is concerned about vandalism to the sculptures.
Another concern the board mentioned is the use of only one artist for several art pieces.
“We would like to see more artists eventually,” Mayer responded. “But these were just largely donated and we don’t have any other sculptures purchased at this point. We can make that an effort and I would like to see that happen.”
Steffens said some local artists may have a piece, but are not aware that they could donate it to the arts council.
“I don’t think some people know they can do that,” she said. “We need to promote the arts council more.”
Mayer suggested rotating arts elements around town so more artists are featured.
The board will make a formal recommendation on where to place the sculptures in May which will then go to the city council.