The Northshore Community Foundation (NCF) introduced sculpture artist Doug Granum to the Bingen City Council during its April 16 meeting.
Granum is the artist behind the bronze statue of former Bingen City Council member and resident Guillermo Fisch. Granum knew the late Fisch well and was honored to do the sculpture when asked by the NCF.
“I wanted to make a statue, not just about Willy, but about Bingen as well. I want it to be a welcoming figure to the city that happens to share some of Willy’s love for food, wine, dancing, and people. Ultimately, I want it to be a piece that people can interact with and will make them smile the way Willy made the people he met smile,” said Granum.
Granum talked to the council a bit about the design process for the sculpture, from drawing to modeling, 3-D rendering, and ultimately creating the pieces of the statue to be put together.
“Creating the sculpture begins with sketches, then I scan the drawings into the computer. Once we have the scan uploaded, we can then begin refinements with what is known as a digital brush. The brush can be used to sculpt, paint, enlarge, reduce, and overall manipulate the image. Once we have an image exactly where we want it, we can then begin the process of 3-D printing the actual form,” said Granum.
For the “Willy” statue, printing took about 24 hours. The 3-D model is broken up into about 25 parts, that had to be put together like a jig-saw puzzle.
Granum has done sculptures for the cities of Tacoma, Gig Harbor, Bellingham and Quincy, as well as Cannon Beach, Ore. He has shown interest in working with the City of Bingen in the future on the State Route 14 roundabout.
The seven-foot-tall bronze statue will be the inaugural piece in a proposed Bingen Art Walk and will be unveiled during the Art & Wine Fusion festival in late July. Afterwards it will be placed in a pre-determined location in Bingen.
The latter was a key piece of conversation for the Bingen Council, as the NCF needs the city’s permission to place the statue in town.
NCF presented graphics of proposed ideal locations for the statue along Steuben Street. Granum and the NCF want people to be able to interact with the statue and take photos with it, while the city wants to make sure it does not impact traffic along Steuben Street/SR14.
Both the City of Bingen and the NCF are leaning toward a central location in the bulb-out on the northwest side of Insitu. The bulb-out is currently home to a lovely flowerbed and a Peace Pole, which was part of a local Eagle Scout’s project.
“If the statue goes in the bulb-out next to the peace pole, I would recommend taking the flowers out of the flower bed and putting pavers there,” said Granum, who also advocated for lighting to go in the flowerbed to light up the statue at night.
Another considered location was the bulb out in front of Chips across from the Edward Jones Office, but there was some concern about that location. Councilor Catherine Kiewit noted that the location is near a crosswalk and could confuse drivers if people are stopping to take pictures of the statue.
Other locations being looked at are the corner of Steuben and Walnut streets, where the Christmas tree goes each year; the corner of Steuben and Alder street by the post office; and possibly a small inlet on the sidewalk in front of Insitu.
NCF member Doug Comstock passed around photos of the proposed locations with renderings of the statue in those locations. Based on those pictures many of the City Councilors agreed that the statue looked best in the bulb-out and posed the least amount of risk to traffic.
Councilor Laura Mann voiced concern that having the statue in the bulb-out will set a precedent for further art installations to go in the bulb-outs, to which the NCF assured her that not all of the art installations for the Art Walk would be sculptures.
Comstock brought up a point regarding the iconography of the statue.
“We know that not everyone knew Willy. The intent of the statue is to convey his spirit, which we believe can and will be felt by the community with this statue,” said Comstock.
The NCF would like to know from the Bingen Council, by its next meeting, which location has been approved for the statue, so that the NCF may inform its donors. NCF has also committed to having the words for the plaque of the statue ready for the council to review.