Walla Walla sculptor Brad Rude merges the bronze likenesses of a mule deer, coyote and owl, one on top of the other, in a new sculpture on the grounds of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane.
The figures, standing among rocks on a miniature replica of a fire lookout tower, are made to evoke the wildlife and environment of the Inland Northwest.
The 14-foot sculpture will be unveiled today.
“What a wonderful piece,” said Spokane tax attorney Scott Lukins as the artist prepared to anchor the piece to its pedestals Wednesday. “We love it, of course.”
The work is a gift from Lukins and his wife Betty Lukins, an art weaver, and their family. The Lukinses are local arts patrons.
In an artist’s statement, Rude said he wants the sculpture, titled “The Navigators,” to inspire cooperation through a depiction of animals working together.
The contemporary piece reaches back to his grandfather’s folk art and uses finely crafted patinas to create a feeling of timelessness. The deer’s body has a campfire, a horse and trees sculpted into it with colorful flourishes.
The Lukinses approached the museum about five years ago with an offer to commission the sculpture, but the project took several years to get started.
Rude was born in Montana and moved to Walla Walla while growing up. He lives in the shadow of the Blue Mountains and developed his art while working at Walla Walla Foundry, which casts bronze artwork, including the MAC piece.
Foundry President Mark Anderson traveled to Spokane to help with the installation.
Rude also has works at the Boise Art Museum, Seattle’s zoo and Microsoft.
A small exhibit of his work has been on display at the main entrance to the MAC for the past month.
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