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Lewes approves public art at trailhead

Cost for three wind sculptures to be shared
Lewes Mayor and City Council unanimously voted to approve an application from Art in Bloom to place three wind sculptures at the trailhead near the new Lewes Public Library. SUBMITTED PHOTOS
October 2, 2017

Lewes officials approved the placement of three kinetic wind sculptures at the trailhead near the new Lewes Public Library. 

The approval comes one month after city officials denied a request to put a single wind sculpture in Otis Smith Park on the beach side of Savannah Road. 

“Sometimes in the winds of change we find our true direction,” said Jane Ellan Golde, chair of Art in Bloom. 

The cost of the windspinners is about $11,500, which is to be split three ways among Lewes in Bloom, the City of Lewes and a fundraising campaign or private donor. 

The sculptures will be placed in a triangle in a green space between the trailhead and Freeman Highway and will be very visible to drivers and trailhead users. 

“I think it will be a much more dramatic demonstration with three [sculptures] together,” said Councilwoman Bonnie Osler. “It’s going to be a very nice visual.” 

Golde said her group plans to plant grasses around the sculptures to deter people from getting too close. 

The windspinners are the creation of artist Lyman Whitaker. They will stand as high as 18 feet off the ground, as low as 6 feet and will move with the wind. Made of copper and stainless steel, they are designed to withstand salty air and gale-force winds. Each comes with a seven-year warranty, but they are expected to last 25 to 30 years.

Whitaker’s art was chosen by an art selection committee within Lewes in Bloom. Golde said member John Lester recommended Whitaker’s work after seeing his sculptures in Sante Fe, N.M. 

In searching for public art, Golde said, the committee was looking for something that was affordable, easy to install, wasn’t hazardous to anyone and would be an attraction for passersby.

Art in Bloom then filed an application with the city, where it was considered by the public art application review committee, and the parks and recreation commission before going before mayor and city council. 

Council unanimously approved the application Sept. 11 with little discussion, a drastic change from its August meeting, when officials spent two hours debating the original application. 

“I know there were some people disappointed in the action council took last month, but I think this shows by giving some more thought to the application that we’ve got a much better project,” said Deputy Mayor Fred Beaufait. “We’ve got our first public art, and I believe it’s going to be an asset to the city.” 

Golde said the goal is to unveil the sculptures during the 2018 Tulip Celebration in April. 

She said she still hopes to find an appropriate piece of art to place in the originally intended location in Otis Smith Park, as well as continue adding public art throughout the city. 

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