“Joe Fan” remains a man, but he’s getting a precasting face lift.
On Monday, the Spokane City Council unanimously approved a $15,000 contract with sculptor Vincent De Felice to put a bronze statue in Joe Albi Stadium’s endzone bleachers.
Instead of being a generic male fan, the statue will look like Joseph A. Albi, the Spokane lawyer and civic booster who spearheaded the stadium’s construction.
The statue also has been renamed, said Mike Kobluk, city entertainment facilities director. “He will better be described as ‘Joe Fan, Joe Albi.”’
During discussions about the statue last week, Mayor Jack Geraghty and Councilwoman Roberta Greene took offense at the bronze figure’s sex, saying the proposed piece excludes women sports fans.
Greene and Geraghty approved of the compromise reached Monday.
“I think this is a really good move,” Geraghty said, adding he still has concerns about the statue’s maleness. “A lot of fans go to Joe Albi - not just men.”
Ed Clark, president of the Spokane Sports, Entertainment, Arts and Convention Advisory Board, agreed. “We have to be enlightened about these things,” he said, adding that his board - which includes female members - had approved the statue plans without ever mentioning its sex.
De Felice said he always intended the statue to “pay tribute to Joe Albi and, in a greater sense, represent everybody. … The common element is the fan.”
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