Editorial: Downtown art is going well

The Oak Harbor City Council has a challenging but fun job ahead as it selects the public art that will enhance the Pioneer Way improvement project.

The budget is $80,000 and it is hoped this will fund four pieces of art. The main entryways to Old Town, City Beach Street and Midway Boulevard, would receive the major pieces, estimated at $30,000 each, while other works of art would be placed in the areas of Dock Street and Ireland Street.

The Oak Harbor Arts Commission has done an outstanding job soliciting proposals from artists and keeping the public informed. Public meetings with the artists have been aired numerous times on Channel 10, the mayor’s televised interview with Arts Commission members was informative and entertaining, and it’s simple to find pictures of all the proposals on the Internet.

Artists responded creatively to the theme of water, producing realistic portrayals of salmon, a seal and mermaid, as well as more symbolic efforts to portray water spouting, flowing or swirling.

The Arts Commission will make its recommendations to the City Council, but it will be  up to the elected council members to make the final decision. This is a rare opportunity to make downtown Oak Harbor a unique and even fanciful place that will attract visitors not only for the shopping and dining opportunities but to visit the new works of art.

Thanks to all the interest shown by artists both on and off the island, there are plenty of good ideas to work with. The Arts Commission isn’t done with its work yet, and the public will have other opportunities to get involved. Perhaps in March we’ll know what art is coming to downtown Oak Harbor and that will mark another milestone in its redevelopment.

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