A major piece of public art once planned for Highway 97 North disappeared last year after criticism from city councilors.
One of the main complaints about the proposed $250,000 sculpture, which featured 10 human figures perched on tall poles, was that its beauty and grace would be lost by being placed next to the busy freeway with all its cars high speed.
Com. Gail Given suggested last November that the sculpture proposed by artist Ted Fullerton should have been located in a pedestrian-friendly city park, where people could better understand its scale and take pictures of themselves next to it.
Fast forward to Wednesday, when plenty of secrets were woven into a press release issued by the Kelowna Art Gallery about a “large new outdoor public art sculpture” set to be unveiled at side of the Water Street building.
“No announcements will have been made via Gallery communications prior to the media preview event,” art gallery spokesperson Joshua Desnoyers wrote in an email invitation to attend the event.
The media’s feverish minds, or one of them anyway, wondered if the sculpture about to be unveiled was a revival of Fullerton’s ill-fated piece, which was designed as a new panel.” Welcome to Kelowna”.
“I can confirm that this is not a Ted Fullerton sculpture, although that is a very shrewd guess,” Desnoyers wrote in an email.
The media, and all of Kelowna, will therefore have to wait until 9:30 a.m. on October 27 to take a look at the sculpture, described as having been made by “an established artist whose work has been shown throughout North America. North and which has received large orders in Canada and the United States”
Kelowna currently has over 70 works of public art. Whichever newest will be located between two of the most photographed sculptures, ‘Rhapsody’, a depiction of playful dolphins at the entrance to Waterfront Park, and ‘Bear’, a depiction of bears, at Stuart Park.
“Bear’s” look was such a closely guarded secret before its 2010 unveiling that it was wrapped in plastic and a security guard had been hired to watch it the night before, lest anyone try to smuggle it. ‘an overview.
However, plans for a new Welcome to Kelowna sign on Highway 97 North also remain a bit of a mystery, as calls to the appropriate authorities at City Hall were not returned Wednesday.