"Joie de Vivre," sculpture by David Varnau

Percival Plinth Project

by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS

Olympia is buying a new piece of art, and anyone who can get to Percival Landing this month is invited to help choose it. Over a dozen new sculptures by Northwest artists have been installed on the plinths, or sculpture stands, along the landing, and ballots on which to vote for your favorite will be available beginning Friday, July 7. The city will purchase the winner for a price of up to $10,000.

Voting, which continues through July 27, happens the old-fashioned way — by paper ballot — because the city wants votes only from people who’ve looked at each sculpture in person. Last year, 269 people cast votes. All 15 new sculptures will be on display till next summer, when the winner will become part of the city’s art collection. Last year’s winner, David Varnau’s “Joie de Vivre,” is on display at City Hall.

People get attached to the sculptures, said project organizer Angel Nava, who worked with the team that installed the new crop last month. “We had a really positive response,” she said. “People walking by would stop us and ask us where the winner is from last year or say, ‘We really miss those sculptures.’”

This year was the first time the competition was open to artists from Oregon as well as Washington state, though only one Oregon artist (Jesse Swickard) was chosen. Two of the chosen artists, Grant Walker of Olympia and Cyrra Robinson of Tumwater, live in Thurston County. Other Washington-state artists included are Kevin Au, Karsten Boysen, Lance Carleton, Timm Duffy, Charles Fitzgerald, Ann Fleming, Lin McJunkin and Milo White (who collaborated on a sculpture), Jon Kalin, Louise McDowell, Rodger Squirrell, Ken Turner and Leon White.

What: Percival Landing sculptures

Where: opening reception at Harbor House,
325 Columbia St. NW, Olympia

When: 5:30 p.m. Friday, July 7 (voting open through July 27)

How much: free

Get tickets: 360-709-2678 | City of Olympia




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