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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

‘Linked together’: Riverfront Park sculpture bonds Spokane with Italian sister city

A new 3,000-pound marble monument showcasing the artistic traditions of Cagli, Italy, and bonding the small town with Spokane is on permanent display at the Connections Garden at Riverfront Park.

Cagli is Spokane’s newest Sister City, a relationship established in 2016. Spokane’s other Sister Cities are Nishinomiya, Japan; Jilin City, China; Limerick, Ireland; and Jecheon, Korea.

The Sister Cities Association of Spokane dedicated the “Teatro and Torrione” Carrara marble monument, as well as a locally produced “Kokanee Steel” one in a ceremony Saturday at the Spokane Pavilion at Riverfront Park.

“Now, Spokane and Cagli, Italy, are linked together,” Tony Anderson, of Sister Cities International and Order of the Sons and Daughters of Italy in America, told the more than 50 people in attendance at the Pavilion.

Ettore Gambioli, who has worked on some of the most important historical buildings in central Italy, created the marble statue. Gambioli depicted the ceiling of Teatro communale (1878), or community theater, and Torrione Martiniano (1481), a tower that is now a museum, on the monument.

Elisabetta Valentini, honorary consul of Italy, read aloud a message from Gambioli, who was not present at the ceremony.

“The message of this sculpture is to represent the city of Cagli with two of the most important symbols,” Gambioli wrote. “Making this sculpture gave me the opportunity to pay homage to the city of Cagli and Spokane.”

The colorful Kokanee monument, which was created by Spokane artists Melissa Cole and Brad McDonald, represents the once abundant fish in the Spokane River and the Indigenous peoples of the region.

“It is only through the inclusiveness of our world’s cultures, our education and our arts here locally, while at the same time treating all people equitably, will we ever gain a justly diverse community, which will be the city of choice of future generations,” former Mayor David Condon told the crowd Saturday.

John Caputo, president of the Sister Cities Association of Spokane, said before the ceremony that the relationship with Cagli started because Caputo, also a Gonzaga University professor, has taken Gonzaga students to Cagli the past two decades. He said an exchange program sends 10 Spokane students to Cagli and 10 Cagli students to Spokane each summer.

“In a time that we’re focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion, I think it’s paramount that we continue the vision of building relationships truly based on friendship,” Condon said.

Editor’s note: This story was updated on Oct. 6, 2021 to reflect the correct weight of the monument.