What is 18 feet tall and weighs over 5,000 pounds? Merrillee Moore’s stainless steel sculpture “Aerie.” Born and raised in the Northwest, Moore sees the empty nest as a welcoming presence and a “symbol of home.”
As people pass by she hopes it influences their “perspectives of Anacortes and the Pacific Northwest.” The long anticipated eagle’s nest will be installed in the Commercial Avenue roundabout this Saturday and dedicated on February 13 at 1 p.m.
In 2010, Moore’s design was chosen by the Anacortes Arts Commission out of 30 proposals. That same year the City Council approved it for the centerpiece of the Commercial Ave. roundabout. In 2013, after installation requirements for the state Department of Transportations were met, and Moore began the process of creating the sculpture.
Moore, well known for her molten glass sculptures which embody fluidity and movement, often uses glass and stainless steel as her mediums of choice and says she strives to highlight the optics and depth of the medium. “Aeire,” the largest sculpture Moore has created, is a prime example of an artist bringing to life an elegant and dimensional visual dance.
Sculptures are not new to the Anacortes landscape.
From 2010 to 2014 “Arts on the Avenue” dotted corners and parks along Commercial Avenue. The newest permanent addition from this collection, purchased by the Anacortes Arts Festival, is “East Meets Northwest” by Stephen Rock. It’s shaped like a Chinese character using large reclaimed wooden paint brushes. Positioned on the busy corner of 18th St. and Commercial Avenue, its center sign – forged by local master blacksmith Paul Thorne – is an eye catcher.
A few other pieces of the collection remain. In front of How It Works, Peregrine O’Gormley’s bronze sculpture “How Much Longer?” depicts a woman bent backward balancing the world in her hands. “MODOC” the elephant, by Terri Malec, lingers in front of Watermark Book Co. and a wine enthusiast “Goblet”, by James Lapp, is ready for its next pour at The Store Grocery.
All over Fidalgo Island sculptures are found in parks, trails and community gathering spots. At Cap Sante Marina, Gerard Tsutukawa’s striking orca fin “Annie Curtis” rises to touch the sky. At Kiwanis Park, Leo Osborne’s soaring eagle “Windsong” glides next to Guemes Channel. At Seafarers Memorial Park, Deborah Copenhaver’s “Lady of the Sea” holds a lantern to light the way for those that work and play in the sea.
Philip McCracken’s stoic “Mountain Guardian” watches over visitors to Mt. Erie’s summit, and at the Anacortes Post Office “The Bird Family” takes in the daily activity of historic downtown. “Ska-atl” the otter, a personal favorite, by Tracy Powell readies to flip and play with passersby’s on the Tommy Thompson trail.
No matter where you wander you’re bound to find sculptural treasures. “Aerie,” positioned in the Commercial Avenue roundabout, will be the first sculpture onlookers clamp their eyes on. With its strong lines and elegant curves this magnificent structure will add a vibrant visual architecture to the coastal landscape and summon a moment of reflection about the Pacific Northwest.
Republished with permission from the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce blog.