A stroll along the Lakeside pathway became a bit more interesting on Friday morning with the installation of the giant Heron’s Landing sculpture.
Glistening in its gold in the warm September sun over the weekend, the Heron was taken in by many on the popular pathway. Few passed it by without stopping to take a look at it towering over the West Arm and adjacent playing fields.
The work by Kelowna sculptor Jock Hildebrand blends in nicely with the autumn colours and is hopefully a sign of more great art on the city’s waterfront and other public places.
Like anything in Nelson, Heron’s Landing had a bumpy flight on its way to arriving at its final destination. No surprise since you can’t even plant grass in this community without spurring debate (anyone remember the $1 million Columbia Basin Trust allocation to the new playing fields furor?).
There was concern about erecting such a major work produced by an outside artist in a region overflowing with talented sculptors of its own. There was issue with the proper location. There was chatter over the (relatively minimal) cost to the city.
Thankfully, city council and the city’s Cultural Development Commission endured. They chose the right course by involving the public in a decision on the location and trusted that it would be a good fit for the city. It all worked out.
The inventory of public art in this community has been slowly growing. From the classic John McKinnon sculptures scattered around town to the new Baker Street bridge piece and the colourful graffiti wall on the Orange Bridge, public art is starting to sprout everywhere.
It’s encouraging to see this community get past silly squabbles about what is acceptable and move towards giving residents and visitors art of all sorts to appreciate. We only hope there are plenty more public art landings in the near future.