Avenue of the People” Forwards Peninsula Town’s Artistic Evolution
Port Angeles, Wash., Aug. 4, 2008 –Port Angeles, the former hub of the North Olympic Peninsula’s once thriving logging industry, is reinventing itself as a destination for cultural tourism. A driving force in this evolution, the city’s “Art on the Town” program showcases the work of northwest artists in an outdoor sculpture gallery with installations throughout the downtown area. The gallery’s newest addition, resident artist Bob Stokes’ 15-piece Avenue of the People
, will be unveiled on Sat. Aug. 9
at 6 p.m
. during Port Angeles’ Heritage Days celebration. “We’re working to raise the profile of the artist community to a level that it becomes a draw for people outside the area, as well as for locals,” says Stokes. “We’re fortunate to have a Downtown Association, a Chamber of Commerce and a City Council in Port Angeles that recognize the strength and potential of the local arts community and support our efforts.” Stokes visualized the Avenue of the People as a “personality study” telling the story of everyday life in a small town. A true community collaboration, the 15 slightly larger than life-size steel figures are modeled after local residents that Stokes often sees about town. The sculptures are abstract in form with no specific features. Rather, they communicate everyday occurrences through body language, such as a woman trying to coax her unwilling husband into a store, while another woman speed walks down the street. The fun of interpretation is ultimately left up to the viewer.
Production took place at Port Angeles workshops and incorporated the talent of two other resident artists, Mike Anderson and Gray Lucier. Anderson helped to refine and assemble 3-D figures that Stokes cut out of cardboard while his models posed, rather than sketching. The negative pieces of cardboard were then digitized and enlarged at Lincoln Industrial Corporation, and the pattern pieces were cut out of steel. The pieces were assembled at Gray Lucier’s studio using custom tools that the artist fabricated for bending and folding the steel. Stokes welded the pieces together with the help of Lucier and his crew, and then sandblasted the figures. As a final touch he sprayed the sculptures with a solution that caused them to rust instantaneously.
The Avenue of the People will be installed along Laurel Street
in downtown Port Angeles just prior to the Aug. 9 unveiling. Port Angeles Mayor Gary Braun
and Port Angeles Downtown Association President Terry Roth
will speak during the 6 p.m. unveiling ceremony. Stokes and a number of the local residents that modeled for the sculptures will also be on hand. Tours of the sculpture gallery, which include four new exhibits in addition to the Avenue of the People, will be available earlier in the day. There will also be music and a beer garden sponsored by Michael’s Divine Dining.
The Avenue of the People project is funded by the City of Port Angeles and Lodging Tax Committee, the Port Angeles City Council, the Port Angeles Downtown Association, and other private donors. The Art on the Town program is sponsored by the Port Angeles Downtown Association in partnership with the City of Port Angeles.
Ordinary people sculpted on Port Angeles street
PORT ANGELES, Wash. -- They know who they are.
And now, so does everyone else.
Ordinary folks doing ordinary things are captured by Port Angeles sculptor Bob Stokes in 16 abstract steel sculptures in 11 settings on the Avenue of the People.
The permanent outdoor art display funded with $40,000 from city lodging tax revenues and another $20,000 in private donations is on the west side of North Laurel Street between First Street and Railroad Avenue.
The sculptures were unveiled Saturday evening, during the Heritage Weekend festivities, having been shrouded in sheets since the day before.
Most of those who posed for them were there.
"I didn't remember being that huge. But I guess I was," said Lily Neal of Port Angeles.
Neal was a few days away from giving birth to her daughter, Percephone, when she posed for Stokes 14 months ago.
Holding Percephone in her arms, Neal said she posed for the sculpture for her daughter.
"I thought it would be cool to show her when she is older, what a little tiny figure she was in my belly."
Stokes, who began working on the project in September 2006, said each sculpture is meant to capture an individual's body language.
"The interpretation you can make when you see it is your own judgment call," he said.
The sculptures of Port Angeles retirees Jack and Ruth Brown, both 77, are intended to show a couple walking and shopping in downtown Port Angeles.
The two greeted the unveiling with a little dance. They will dance "any place a band plays," Jack Brown said.
He said they were both excited about participating in the art project.
" 1/8Stokes 3/8 is a leader in the art community. When he asked, I couldn't say no."
Another sculpture shows Laura Costello, who works at the First Step Family Support Center in Port Angeles, reaching down to pick up her 2-year-old son, Trevor Martin.
Costello said Stokes came up with the idea because she always had her two children with her whenever she talked with him.
"I was honored when he asked me to be the mother and child," she said.
"I'm also honored to be immortalized on the streets of Port Angeles."
Richard Stephens, Peninsula Daily News advertising account executive and Port Angeles Downtown Association board member, spoke about each sculpture at the unveiling with Barbara Frederick, downtown association executive director.
One sculpture shows Stephens and his wife, Liane Stephens, who is partially disabled. He is pushing her in wheelchair.
"I'm pushing the chair, but she is the strong one," he said.
The city of Port Angeles owns the sculptures which will be permanent fixtures downtown.
They join more than 25 other permanent art pieces as part of the Art on the Town project.
To create the figures, Stokes made miniature versions of his subjects in cardboard.
The negative pieces of cardboard were digitized and enlarged at Lincoln Industrial Corp., and the patterns were cut out of steel.
The pieces were assembled in the studio of Port Angeles artist Gray Lucier, using custom tools for bending and folding the steel.
With the help of Lucier and his crew, Stokes welded the pieces together and sandblasted the figures.
Stokes sprayed the figures with a solution that caused them to rust instantaneously.
Port Angeles artist Mike Anderson, who posed for one of the statues, also worked on the project.
This article also published in the
Seattle PI 8/15/08
Seattle Times 8/17/08
August 9 residents will have the chance to meet, MacKenzie, Lily, Jack & Ruth, Laura and her child, and Cori. They are seven of the 14 sculptures that make up “Avenue of the People” by local sculptor, Bob Stokes.
The sculptures, lining the west side of Laurel Street from First Street to Railroad Avenue,and featuring Port Angeles residents, will be unveiled on Saturday August 9th
at 6 p.m. A young man leaning on railing, a couple window shopping, a woman on a bench, and a loving couple are just a sampling of what is being kept under wraps until they are formally revealed and added to the growing number of art pieces currently on the sidewalks downtown.
“Part of the beauty in this display will be how the viewer interprets the sculptures,” said artist Bob Stokes “many people will be able to identify with many of them and will make up their own stories.” Art began showing up on downtown sidewalks in 1999 when the Port Angeles Downtown Association was looking for something to draw interest to downtown it chose art. The program, ART on the Town™ has grown to over 25 permanent sculptures and an additional 17 are on loan.
The 2008-2009 ART on the Town™ collection will also open on Saturday, with guided tours available at 11:30 am, 1:30 and 3:30 pm. leaving from the Landing Mall. Four new pieces will be added to the collection, in addition to “Avenue of the People”. Mayor Gary Braun, PADA President Terry Roth, and Bob Stokes will speak at the “Avenue of the People” event and most of the people featured in the sculptures will be present. The unveiling will begin at 6 p.m at the corner of Railroad Avenue and Laurel Streets and progress South on Laurel, with each sculpture or set of sculptures being revealed individually. It should last about one hour. Food and a beer garden will also be also from Michael’s Divine Dining.