Winning Sculptures From the Percival Plinth Project

By Alec Clayton

Nathan Robles and Nancy Thorne Chambers were honored this year for their sculptures in Olympia’s Percival Plinth Project at the landing. For each of the past nine years, local artists have exhibited sculptures along the boardwalk from Fourth Avenue at Water Street to the plaza. Citizens are invited to vote on their favorites, and the winning piece is purchased by the city for permanent display at another Olympia location.

The 2019 “Peoples’ Prize Winner” is “The Giant & I” by Nathan Robles, a seven-foot-tall by three-foot-wide steel sculpture of a figure standing on a globe. Another piece by Robles, “Work,” was chosen for honorable mention. “I am deeply honored,” Robles said, “that both pieces have been so well received. Both sculptures mean a lot to me, and I’m glad that ‘The Giant and I’ has found a home in the city of Olympia.”

Written comments on ballots for “The Giant & I” included remarks that it speaks to “the humanity of all things” with a focus on “empathy” and its “potential to facilitate understanding.”

Also chosen for honorable mention was Chambers’ “Bear Listening in a Story Place,” a life-size storybook bear in fancy dress holding a book, all of which was cast in bronze with color patinas burned on by chemicals and blowtorches. Chambers oversees this process at the foundry. “I feel honored to have come in second place,” Chamber said, “and Bear is, too. Our pieces are so very different and that, I believe, is what makes it fun for people. Olympia has so much diverse sculpting talent and it really did show on the boardwalk this year. It is exciting to be part of the exhibit, and getting to know other artists adds to the joy of participating. The first thing I said [when winners were announced] was, I knew ‘The Giant & I’ would be the winner. It’s an amazing piece of artwork, and Nathan Robles is a true craftsman bringing life to his metal work.”


Percival Plinth Project


Ongoing, with new sculptures installed annually


Percival Landing Park,
217 Thurston Ave. NW, Olympia




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