Waitsburg Cited as Community Example in Cityvision Magazine
City is lauded in special issue on art and the community
June 29, 2017
WAITSBURG – There's rarely a day goes by that at least one passerby doesn't stop in front of The Times to have a photo taken with Jeffrey Hill's Founding Fathers sculpture. Now, that sculpture, along with Wayne Chabre's interactive Fanny Weller bronze and Squire Broel's The Waitsburg Monument obelisk, are receiving statewide recognition as subjects of a feature story in the May/June 2017 Cityvision Magazine.
The Association for Washington Cities, publisher of Cityvision Magazine, got the head's up about Waitsburg's art project when City Manager Randy Hinchliffe entered the city for a Municipal Excellence Award specifically dedicated to art in public communities. Waitsburg didn't win the award, but did catch their attention.
The current issue of the magazine centers on the theme Soul Patches: How culture and heritabe nourish community spirit. Waitsburg is one of the examples in a feature authored by Ted Katauskas titled Culture Club: Washington cities inspire civic engagement by resuscitating, reinforcing, and in some cases redefining community identity.
The article focuses more on the process of bringing art to Waitsburg's Main Street than it does on the art itself. Katauskas begins with the 2007 downtown revitalization project and chronicles the city's ongoing struggles and challenges in completing the final missing piece of that project – public art.
Katauskas said that the 2014 award of a $125,000 grant from Sherwood Trust (combined with a $30,000 contribution from the city), for the commission of two bronze sculptures, brought life to the city.
"...the award electrified the city. The selection process was chronicled breathlessly in the local paper, and council meetings discussing the project attracted crowds," he wrote.
The article also addresses "a bit of a kerfuffle" with the selection of the piece intended to honor Waitsburg's founding fathers, saying the art commission bucked "clear public preference" in selecting The Waitsburg Monument over Founding Fathers.
Katauskas shares examples of the public campaign to raise $73,400 to add Hill's sculpture to Main Street, Chabre's and Broel's visits to local classrooms, and "more than 600 Waitsburg residents, from a six-week-old infant to teenagers to seniors in their 90's," adding their thumbprints to The Waitsburg Monument, as examples of how the art project brought the community together.
"The art has helped bring around the idea that everybody is very proud of their town," he wrote, quoting Waitsburg City Council and Arts Commission member Kate Hockersmith.
The entire article can be read in the pdf version of the May/June Cityvision magazine at http://bit.ly/2u9JPUb