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Artist defends rainbow

COEUR d'ALENE - The artist who created the "Under The Rainbow" sculpture in McEuen Park said he will work with the city to enhance the piece.

Howard Meehan said in an interview Thursday that he felt a little blindsided by the city's Arts Commission when he received a letter last week criticizing the performance of his $110,000 sculpture.

"I asked if there were any problems with the piece when I received my final payment," Meehan said, adding that the city's Recreation Director, Steve Anthony, only had one question concerning programming of the lights for special events. "Then I get a call from him last week saying the piece was under-performing." Full story. Jeff Selle CdA Press

From the story: Compounding the problem, Meehan said, was the media coverage of the under-performance issues that went viral. Then people were making rude comments on social media sites.

"All those negative comments made my wife cry when she read them," he said. "I think I am getting stomped on. It is as bad as it was when I first came up there with the name."

Could Meehan be referring to us nice folks at HucksOnline?

Stolen ‘Kate’ Statue Found

Lifelong Coeur d'Alene resident Randy Cayko didn't find any moose antlers while riding his dirt bike on Yellowstone Trail. Instead he found something far more valuable: a large bronze statue of a 1920s-era woman on a bicycle. "It was just sitting on the ground with a noose tied around her neck attached to a black bobsled," Cayko said. "I had no idea what it was at first, so I called my friend and he told me what it was." What it was, was the popular "Kate" statue that, up until it was stolen in January, was on display at Riverstone Park. After finding out from his friend that the statue was stolen property, Cayko contacted the police. When the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office concluded its initial investigation of the scene, they contacted the city's parks department/Keith Cousins, Coeur d'Alene Press. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Shawn Gust)


Last Chance To Pick McEuen Art

The public has an opportunity to weigh in on the next sculpture that will be erected in McEuen Park, but you better hurry because voting will wrap up after the McEuen open house on Saturday. The four finalists are on display in the upper level at the Coeur d'Alene Public Library, along with comment forms for public input. The city of Coeur d'Alene's Arts Commission is planning to select the winner beginning next week. The winning piece will be located at the Third Street entrance of the park. The city posted "a call for artists" on an Internet site called "CAFE," or www.callforentry.org. Steve Anthony, city recreation director, said the website generated more than 120 submittals/Shawn Gust, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you think public art is important?

Comment Sought On McEuen Art

Here's the chance for those of you who squawked at the decision by the Arts Commission to approve a piece of public art for the Fourth Street entrance to the new McEuen Field that proved controversial. The city of Coeur d'Alene is seeking input from the public re: proposed pieces of public art for the Third Street entrance to the new and improved park. You can see models of the pieces and comment on them at the Coeur d'Alene Public Library.

Art Spruces Up Signal Boxes

Some of the most eye-popping public art going up in Coeur d’Alene can be found at busy intersections. Original paintings and photos digitally transferred to vinyl are dressing up drab signal boxes from downtown and Riverstone to Ramsey Road and Government Way. Inspired by a similar project in Boise, the city and the Coeur d’Alene Arts Commission launched the beautification program last year with art wraps on six of the street-level metal boxes, which house traffic signal equipment. They’re on track to decorate another 13 boxes this year and plan to continue next year. The wraps add to the city’s public art inventory while also deterring graffiti. Blank canvases are a target of taggers, but defacement stops once the vibrant wraps go on, said Steve Anthony, Coeur d’Alene’s recreation director/Scott Maben, SR. More here.

Question: Do you enjoy the artsy signal boxes?

Mobley won’t lead revamped arts agency

The woman who led the city’s arts department for 15 years before it was dismantled last year won’t be the permanent leader of the new agency promoting the arts in Spokane.

Karen Mobley said Thursday that she decided to step down as the interim director of the Spokane Arts Fund on March 31. The fund was revamped last year after Mayor David Condon followed through on former Mayor Mary Verner’s proposal to remove the arts department from city government.

Until late last year, the Spokane Arts Fund was the small nonprofit arm of the city’s Arts Commission. The fund now performs the functions of the city’s former department and has a $160,000 budget provided by the city and several agencies and businesses. The fund’s headquarters are located within the offices of Visit Spokane, the organization formerly known the Spokane Regional Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

Letter: No Art In Roundabouts

Excuse me? I read where someone wants to put an object of art in the middle of a traffic roundabout? At times it is a little hard for some of us older ones to navigate these as it is. Now you want to place an object in the middle of it? I don’t think so/Lynn Aus, letter to the editor, Coeur d'Alene Press.

Question: Do you agree/disagree with the letter writer that there should be no public art in the center of roundabouts?

Art is everywhere…

Boise is holding its 58th annual Art in the Park festival this weekend at Julia Davis Park, a fundraiser for the Boise Art Museum that's also a spectacular place to find one-of-a-kind holiday gifts, if you're planning ahead. But you don't have to go to the park to find art downtown. Among the public art there are nine newly decorated traffic boxes, unveiled for First Thursday this past week, each with an Idaho artist's unique design; that brings the total number to 53. This one's by Yen Ching restaurant on 9th Street. City  public art manager Karen Bubb says, "The program brings public art to the street, decreases graffiti, and increases the unique character of Boise."

Dolling Up Lake City’s ‘Poop Plant’

"These are the real workers at the plant," said Allen Dodge at his shop in Coeur d'Alene recently about the welded steel sculptures he created for display at the wastewater treatment plant in Coeur d'Alene. Dodge made the sculptures in the shape of organisms including stalked ciliate, filamentous bacteria and nematode. The artwork will be installed in July. (Kathy Plonka SR photo)

Question: Die-hard City Hall critic Sharon Culbreth dissed the public art at the "poop plant" in May during a seminar. The "poop plant," of course, is now very public as a result of the new infrastructure into the future Education Corridor. Do you see a public good in spending public money to doll up a "poop plant"?

Ganesha Artwork Leaving Downtown

At 8 a.m. Friday, Ganesha will come down. The five-foot statue of the Hindu God, who earned some criticism for its apparently un-American and un-Christian ways, will leave its spot on the corner of Sixth Street and Sherman Avenue and head to an art studio in Spokane. It its place will be a 7-foot statue called "Art and Soul." It's a creation by local artist Jason Sanchez, and one could describe the futuristic machine as something that stepped out of a Terminator movie. "We got some unusual ones," said Joseph Sharnetsky, Arts Commission member, on this incoming crop of artistic creations - which he described as "more abstract, more colorful and more unusual" than the current fleet. "It's a little different than last year"/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Kathy Plonka SR file photo)

Question: Do you enjoy the public arts display in downtown Coeur d'Alene this past year?

Art Work For CdA Sewer Plant?

It’s putting a pretty face on the, uh, ugly. Not that the ever-changing, ever-updating Coeur d’Alene Wastewater Treatment Plant is unattractive from an aesthetic sense, it’s just that the job it’s designed to do is just so, well, unglamorous. Never mind that though. The plant is the spot for the city’s next public art piece. “It’s kind of neat,” said Fred Ogram, Arts Commission chairman, on the call to artists soliciting a hands-on, interpretive art piece that should support the facility’s functions while highlighting the nearby natural environment and resources/Tom Hasslinger, CdA Press. More here. (Photo courtesy: city of Coeur d'Alene)

Question: You be the artist. What would an appropriate art work look like for the Coeur d'Alene wastewater plant?

Jews, Hindus, Buddhists Laud CdA

The Jews, Buddhists and Hindus have applauded the City of Coeur d'Alene (Idaho, USA) for the public display of 'Ganesha' sculpture in its downtown.  "The City of Coeur d'Alene and its Arts Commission should be commended for their strength and inclusive attitude in displaying the 'Ganesha' sculpture along with 14 others in downtown as a part of 'ArtCurrents', its public art display program," Rabbi Jonathan B. Freirich, the prominent Jewish leader in North Carolina (USA), said in a statement. "Ganesha may not be as sacred to us as it is to our Hindu friends, but we still welcome its addition as an integration of a wider range of public art into the community and an enhancement of the overall appeal of an urban area," he added/Newstrack India. More here. (SR file photo by Kathy Plonka, of controversial Ganesha artwork in downtown Coeur d'Alene)


Artist Explains Ganesha Work

Artist Rick Davis left the following comment on the Dogwalk Musings blog re: why he designed the controversial Ganesha public art work that will be on display in downtown Coeur d'Alene for the next year: "The reason I originally chose to do this piece was at the suggestion of my Yoga teacher.  But as the project progressed, and I did more research into Ganesha, the themes that surround him seemed to be unfolding in my life.  So he became a 3 1/2 year teaching/learning moment for me." Adds Dogwalk Musings: "Art, no matter what form it takes,  is probably the most subjective commodity in the world.  We either like what we see or we don't.  As with this month's Art Walk.  What shouldn't be forgotten, however, in viewing the finished product, there is a process behind it.  As Mr. Davis points out, his piece became a teaching/learning moment.  Certainly nothing sinister nor intended to offend." More here. (SR file photo/Kathy Plonka, of Ganesha)

Question: Do you support public art? Or do you consider it to be a waste of money?

Man Launches Drive Against Ganesha

"Ganesha," a sculpture by artist Rick Davis, was picketed last month by the Kootenai County Constitution Party when it was dedicated as part of a public art display in downtown Coeur d'Alene. Pickets said the sculpture represents a Hindu god and shouldn't be permitted in the Lake City. Now, a Coeur d'Alene man, backed by a church, is gathering signatures on petitions to seek the display's removal. Full story here. (SR file photo: Kathy Plonka)

Ronald J. Vander Griend is soliciting help from other churches besides Lake City Lighthouse Church, which has already pledged its support, in Vander Griend's attempt to remove the public art piece on grounds that it's offensive. In his interpretation, the symbol of Ganesha is too similar to the swastika, the elephant's trunk depicts a phallic symbol, and the weapons in the statue's hands represent tools used to put fear in Hindu followers to the "gods who control their lives," according to the petition/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Will Ronald Vander Griend succeed in his drive to remove Ganesha from downtown Coeur d'Alene?

Hucks Poll: ‘Feathers’ Favorite Art

  • Weekend Poll: 'The Feathers,' Mudgy & Millie, and Fallen Heroes Plaza are the three most popular pieces of public art in the Coeur d'Alene area. 'The Feathers' on Northwest Boulevard was deemed most popular with 43 of 150 votes (28.67%), followed by the 5 Mudgy & Millie sculptures, with 34 of 150 (22.67%), and Fallen Heroes Plaza, off 15th Street, 29 of 150 (19.33%). Other public art receiving votes were: City Park wood sculptures & Midtown bicycle racks, 10 votes apiece (6.67%); bicyclist "Kate" at Riverstone, 6 votes (4%); "Take Time" ponderosa, 5 votes (3.33%); and "other," 13 votes (8.67%).
  • Today's Poll: Who would you want in control of wolf populations in Idaho & Montana — Congress, Environmentalists, Judges, or states of Idaho and Montana?

‘Trashy’ Public Art To Be Removed

Jagger Black, age 7, of Moses Lake, Wash., plays on the dinosaur bone sculpture in Riverfront Park Wednesday. The Spokane Parks and Recreation Department plans to remove and demolish the sculpture because it has developed cracks and is considered unsafe. (SR photo: Colin Mulvany)\

When noted Pacific Northwest artist Charles W. Smith was creating a sculpture in what became Riverfront Park, he was often asked what it represented. “Nothing,” he told a Spokane Daily Chronicle reporter. “It can be anything a child wants it to be. Rather than a camel or a horse, it can be many things.” Nearly 40 years later, Spokane arts and parks leaders, however, may give it a label: trash/Jonathan Brunt, SR. More here.

Question: Which piece of public art in the Coeur d'Alene area would you consider "trashy"?

Don: Artist Joe Jonas Will Be Missed

Re: North Idaho College schedules memorial for Joe Jonas/Hucks Online

Don Sausser: Joe, so humble, simply produced uncontroversial art that everyone could digest with great delight. From the piano near Schuler autitorium to the massive brass & ocopper pieces covering Christiansen Gymnasium and Boswell Hall, Joe has blessed North Idaho College for generations of future visitors. I used to visit him in his garage studio/workshop and marvel at his clay workups for larger pieces. They in themselves were works of art. RIP Joe.

Question: What’s your favorite piece of public art in the greater Coeur d’Alene area?

Vandals Attack Bryan Public Art

Vandals in Coeur d’Alene took the ‘Right to Bear Arms’ way too literally recently when someone used a saw to cut a wooden Grizzly Bear statue off at the ankles at a neighborhood park. Around Coeur d’Alene there are a half dozen wood carved statues including a majestic nine-foot tall Grizzly standing watch at Bryan Field. “Everybody likes it, I don’t know why somebody would want to cut it down,” neighborhood resident Jean LaForge said/Tania Dall, KXLY. More here.

Question: Which acts of vandalism bug you most?

Art: $100K Project On Tap For CDA

Visitors entering town via east Sherman Avenue will likely have a new impression of the Lake City next year. The Coeur d’Alene Arts Commission is soliciting bids from artists to ensure a creative, colorful display greets guests coming into town from Interstate 90. … The piece will be featured on the southeast corner of 23rd Street and Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive adjacent St. Thomas Cemetery. Artists from Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Montana and Utah have until May 15 to submit proposals for the $100,000 project/Tom Hasslinger, CDA Press. More here.

Question: Do you support a $100,000 public arts project to upgrade the eastern entrance to Coeur d’Alene?