Oak Harbor City Council OKs Kraken

Members of the Oak Harbor City Council had no reservations about unleashing the Kraken downtown.

Last week, the council unanimously approved a $33,000 contract with an Oregon-based sculptor to create an eight-foot metal octopus-like monster attacking the Nautilus submarine. Councilwoman Tara Hizon and Councilman Bob Severns were absent.

The unique thing about the work of art will be tentacles. Two sets of tentacles will appear to emerge from the pavement and wrap around walk signals on either side of Pioneer Way at the Southwest City Beach Street intersection.

Cac Kamak, senior planner, explained that the 2011 Pioneer Way remodel project included four sites for arts projects. They were originally supposed to all be installed immediately, but funding issues caused the arts purchases to be spanned out over time.

The art projects are funded through a 0.25 percent utility tax on water, sewer and garbage in the city. The balance in the arts acquisition fund is about $54,000.

Three projects are already in place Moon Maves, Stumbly Ducklings and the mermaid. The Kraken will be the final piece planned for downtown.

Kamak said the members of the Arts Commission wanted a bold piece for the intersection because of all the other “competing elements” at the location. The members also liked the idea of a piece that would span across the road.

They approached artist Bill Hunt with ideas and the Kraken was born.

“This would be unique enough to attract attention and bring people downtown as well,” Kamak said.

Hunt said the Kraken will be based on the giant Pacific octopus, which lives in the waters surrounding Whidbey Island.


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