Decision on public art put on hold in Port Townsend

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

print Print This | Email This

Most Popular this week

Want more top stories? Sign up here for daily or weekly newsletters with our top news.

PORT TOWNSEND — The selection process of a public art display in uptown Port Townsend will need a reboot since the commission was unable to find a satisfactory option among the five finalists.

“We need to regroup,” said Erin Fristad, head of the selection board that was charged with making a recommendation from the finalists.

“We could not come to a decision about what to choose, and if we had decided at this last meeting, it would have been too hasty,” she said.

The committee met Wednesday and was expected to make a recommendation to the full Arts Commission the following day, but there was no selection consensus at either meeting.

“We did not finish the process,” said Stanley Rubin, arts commission chairman.

“It is not unusual to not finish a selection on schedule.”

The committee adjourned its Wednesday meeting and scheduled another at 3 p.m. July 8.

That meeting will take place in a conference room at City Hall, 250 Madison St.

The sculpture, to be located in the uptown neighborhood, is expected to have a different flavor than the last piece of public art installed in Port Townsend.

That was 2011’s “Salish Sea Circle,” an 8-foot-tall bronze work by Seattle artist Gerard Tsutakawa placed in the Civic District plaza.

It has become a downtown tourist attraction.

Development Services Director Rick Sepler, who attends the committee meetings as an adviser, said the panel will decide at its next meeting whether to take another look at the current submissions, interview each artist and request changes or call for more submissions.

Fristad said that the original proposal — which was for a piece that reflects the “funky character” of uptown, is durable in the rain, easily maintained and safe for children, and has a tactile component — will not be changed.

“It’s a unique site,” Sepler said of the uptown neighborhood.

“Finding the best selection for that site has been a challenge.”

Another factor that will not change is the money allocated for the piece.

The prevailing artist will need to complete the project for $20,000.

The grant to the selected artist represents 1 percent of the $2 million in capital projects spent in 2012.

The five artists selected were whittled down from 17 applicants submitted, and each will be paid $300 for the development of their final proposals, which included a scale model, Fristad said.

The five finalists and their proposals are:

-- Margie McDonald and Charles Wiggins of Port Townsend — an archway at the northwest corner of Tyler and Clay streets that would reflect historical elements of local buildings and create an interactive pedestrian walkthrough.

--   Jessica Randall of Port Townsend — a series of four streetlamp sculptures that would be designed to reflect the uptown neighborhood.

--   Carapace Arts of Walla Walla, including sculptors Sara Ybarra Lopez and Mark Stevenson — “City of Sea Dreams,” a bronze sculpture that portrays a boat ascending into the sky lifted by stars and a crescent moon.

--   Stuart S. Nakamura of Seattle — “No Less the Trees and the Stars,” a metal sculpture that represents abstract plants and leaves.

--   Alexandra Morosco of Whidbey Island — “The Pelican Hook,” a 7-foot granite structure topped by a free-standing brass ring.

After the artists presented their works on May 28, the models were moved to City Hall, and public comment was solicited.

For more information, go online to

Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at

Last modified: June 16. 2013 6:22PM
Reader Comments
Local Business
Friends to Follow

To register a complaint about a comment, email and refer to the article and offending comment, or click here: REPORT ABUSE. comments are subject to the User Policy.

From the PDN:

All materials Copyright © 2017 Black Press Ltd./Sound Publishing Inc. • Terms of UsePrivacy PolicyAssociated Press Privacy PolicyAssociated Press Terms of UseContact Us