Spokane Valley city officials are considering potential placement sites for a sixth sculpture, “Heart of the Valley,” which was donated by the Spokane Valley Arts Council.
Cheney-based artist Richard Warrington created the 12-foot high fabricated aluminum sculpture that features a red wave representing the heart of the Valley surrounded by silver waves representing the people of the Valley.
Warrington’s artwork has been showcased nationally as well as in Europe, South America, Asia and Canada.
The Spokane Valley Arts Council, a nonprofit association, has donated five bronze sculptures to the city since 2009; three of those sculptures, “Berry Picker,” “Coup Ponies,” and “Woman With Horse” are located outside of City Hall. The sculptures, which cost between $80,000 and $100,000, are funded through city grants and the arts council’s annual live arts auction.
Anticipated installation costs for the “Heart of the Valley” sculpture are more than $27,000, which include design consultant work. The city has hired landscape architect Jon Mueller of Architects West to assist the city with installation of the piece.
The Spokane Valley Parks Department initially suggested placement of the sculpture on a section of “gateway property” near Interstate 90 and Appleway Boulevard adjacent to the city’s welcome sign.
However, after Spokane Valley City Councilman Ben Wick asked if there were other areas considered for the sculpture placement, it prompted discussion among council members about alternative sites at a council meeting last week.
“I don’t think of (the gateway) site as being the heart of the Valley,” Wick said. “It is titled the ‘Heart of the Valley,’ but really, it’s more the edge of the Valley rather than the heart of the Valley.”
Spokane Valley Parks and Recreation Director Mike Stone said staff looked at additional sites at CenterPlace Regional Event Center, Balfour Park and the Appleway Trailhead.
“It’s a direct line as people come down Appleway (Boulevard). It’s probably the best location on the Appleway Trail,” Stone said. “It could go right behind the plaza area, so that would be a potential alternative and would not be too challenging.”
Spokane Valley City Councilwoman Linda Thompson asked if the sculpture would reflect sunlight and distract drivers at the gateway site.
“I don’t anticipate that, but that’s a question we can ask the artist,” Mueller said. “The reason I don’t is because of the way the stainless is burnished. If it were polished and had a highly reflective surface, I may worry about that.”
Spokane Valley Councilwoman Brandi Peetz said she’s open to placing the sculpture at Balfour Park across from City Hall.
“It really is a beautiful piece and it needs to be somewhere where it’s going to get attention,” she said. “I personally think that it’s a great idea to put it across the street.”
Spokane Valley Councilman Arne Woodard said the gateway site would receive immediate exposure for the sculpture, with thousands of cars passing by that intersection.
“This is a modern piece, a very different piece than what we’ve had before. This to me is a great spot,” he said. “I think with the red and burnished stainless, you’re going to have immediate exposure to that. You are going to see it.”
Spokane Valley Councilman Sam Wood was also in favor of the gateway site.
“There’s a lot of traffic that goes through there. It’s a great location to have the city sign delineating the beginning of our city,” he said. “It should go there. If it’s this art, or some other art, it certainly would make sense to me.”
Spokane Valley Councilwoman Pam Haley said she likes the idea of Balfour Park for a site, but wondered about storage costs because the sculpture would need to be stored until Balfour Park is fully developed.
“It would make a really nice centerpiece and it’s closer to the heart of the city, and that’s kind of what we built our City Hall to be – the heart of the city,” she said.
Stone said the city could store the sculpture at Senske Services – which handles the city’s park upkeep – at no cost.
Wick leaned toward Appleway Trail for a placement site, to avoid storing the sculpture.
“It’s very close to the heart of the city as well. As you walk down the trail, you can actually see it for a great distance there,” he said. “I think it would be a beautiful piece for that location and we wouldn’t have to store it for now.”
Stone said the city aims to install the sculpture before Thanksgiving but could opt to install it next spring to coincide with construction of park amenities at the Appleway Trail.
City staff will evaluate feasibility for the sculpture placement at the Appleway Trailhead and present findings to council members in the next few weeks.
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