Sculpturefundraising continues

Published on Thu, Aug 11, 2005 by TaraNelson

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Sculpture fundraising continues

By Tara Nelson

Plans for The Vigil, a new sculpture on Blaine’s boardwalk by Dirty Dan Harris sculptor Bob McDermott, are underway, but funding is still an issue, said city council member Bruce Wolf at a Blaine Chamber of Commerce meeting at the Pizza Factory this past Wednesday.

McDermott, who is best known for his sculpture of Dirty Dan Harris in Bellingham’s Fairhaven district, presented the model version of the sculpture – called a maquette – to Blaine business owners, city council members and other residents who attended the meeting.

“It means if the money’s there, we can make it bigger,” McDermott said after an audience member asked what a maquette is.

Wolf, who spearheaded the idea, said the city has already received more than $20,000 in pledges from private individuals and businesses in the area but more is needed to reach the sculptor’s bid of $100,000. “We’re off to a good start,” he said.

The sculpture was recommended by the Blaine tourist advisory committee but no funding has been requested from the city at this time, according to Meredith Riley, the finance director for the city of Blaine.Wolf also said the council is looking into forming a seven-person committee to help with fund-raising efforts this September.

McDermott, who lives in Blaine, gave a detailed slide show of the extensive process of building a sculpture and said although $100,000 may seem like a high figure, he is actually forfeiting some of the revenue – or in business speak, all of the profit. He said the city of Tacoma, for example, offered to pay him $150,000 to construct a smaller sculpture but he said he wanted to see something in his own town.

“I have a real preference and passion to do something in my hometown knowing it has meaning for me and the people who live here,” he said. “And I get to see it all the time.”

Christina Alexander, exhibition coordinator and president United States/Canada Peace Anniversary Association (USCPAA), an organization that has worked to bring more than 150 sculptures and art installations to the Peace Arch area and Blaine, said it’s often difficult to convey the amount of work that goes into the creation of any sculpture.

“The challenge of art is conveying the value in it,” she said. “It’s an ambitious project but I think there will be a lot of benefit from it.”
Alexander cited a 2000 tourism study that recommended more art installations in an effort to attract more tourists to the area.

The three-piece, life-size bronze statue depicts a mother, a grandmother and a young boy – all of Icelandic heritage – looking out to sea in hopes of a fisherman returning. McDermott said he designed the sculpture to acknowledge the women who stayed behind often gaining little recognition for their contributions.