The controversial Angel de la Creatividad sculpture is finally set to be installed in Flintstone Park, in lieu of Windjammer Park, although the timeline for installation is still unknown.
Angel de la Creatividad was created by Mexican sculptor Sebastián and was gifted to the city of Oak Harbor back in 2021. The piece and its proposed location in Windjammer Park has raised concerns from both public officials and residents. In June of 2021, a survey – which was heavily criticized – reported that 70% of residents did not want the sculpture at all. Despite this, the city is one step closer to installing the angel.
At Tuesday’s city council meeting, Public Works Director Steve Schuller asked the council to pick a location of either Flintstone Park or the southwest corner of Windjammer Park and for the mayor to sign an agreement with Sculpture Northwest, the nonprofit organization leading the charge to get the piece installed in the city.
Schuller said Sculpture Northwest had already paid for geotechnical engineering of the Windjammer Park location. If installed there, the sculpture would be located more than 200 feet from the ordinary high water mark to avoid needing a shoreline permit. The Flintstone Park location, on the other hand, would require another geotechnical report, paid for by the city using the creative arts fund.
“Almost any location in Flintstone Park would be within 200 feet of the beach and require a shoreline permit,” Schuller added.
Sculpture Northwest recommended a maintenance plan for the sculpture to the city, which includes a pressure wash and inspection once a year, and hiring a team to inspect the welds, coating and concrete pads and perform repairs as needed every ten years. Schuller said repairs would likely be needed with a metal sculpture so close to the sea.
Schuller said both locations would likely require a floodplain permit and the associated federal biological assessment, as well as a building permit. The process could also require a conditional use permit and hearing examiner approval. The permitting process is expected to take 6 to 8 months.
Per the proposed agreement, the city would apply for and pay permit fees for either location. Sculpture Northwest would retain the responsibility to deliver and install the sculpture. The city would store the piece if the permit process takes an extended period of time, Schuller said.
Schuller said if council agreed on a location this month, the sculpture could be installed in the fall of this year at the earliest.
“The good thing here is we’ve got a signed agreement at either location from Sculpture Northwest,” City Administrator Blain Oborn said.
The city received four online comments but no in-person comments, which is unusual for the highly divisive art piece. However, the proposed agreement and location inspired a lengthy discussion among council members.
Councilmember Dan Evans brought up the 2021 survey that gauged how residents felt about the angel. Evans said that 66% of residents chose no location preference because they didn’t want the sculpture at all.
“I would love to hear again from the people with a survey,” he said.
Councilmember Beth Munns said she felt like the survey questions were “leading” and pointed out that many people have come in-person to council meetings to voice their opinion. She preferred the Windjammer Park location.
Councilmember Eric Marshall, who also preferred Windjammer Park, said he could not support the new agreement with the additional permit costs and the liability of the city storing the statue on city property.
Councilmember Jim Woessner made an amendment to remove from the agreement with Sculpture Northwest the city’s obligation to apply and pay for the floodplain permit and associated biological assessment, building permit, conditional use permit and hearing examiner approval, as well as storing the sculpture on city property prior to installation.
Munns was in favor of accepting the agreement as is because any changes are subject to approval by Sculpture Northwest.
“If we make changes, nothing gets done tonight,” Munns said, adding it could take another month or two for Sculpture Northwest to sign a new agreement.
All council members except Munns voted to approve the amendment.
Woessner, Munns, Marshall, Mayor Pro Tem Tara Hizon and Councilmember Shane Hoffmire voted to accept the amended contract with a proposed location at Flintstone Park; Evans and Councilmember Bryan Stucky voted in opposition.