A new species made its way to Whidbey last Sunday evening.
Riding on the back of a flatbed trailer, a 600-pound Tyrannosaurus rex made entirely of driftwood coasted across the Deception Pass Bridge — to the delight of passersby — and into Coupeville, where it waited until Monday to be installed in the soon-to-be-open Price Sculpture Forest.
The spectacle even piqued the interest of the garbage men, who stopped along their usual route and got out of their truck to look at the sculpture, which sat in the parking lot of the sculpture park until it was officially installed Monday morning.
Scott Price, owner of the new park, spearheaded the sculpture’s installation. Flanked by a team of movers, Price and the men spent a few hours carrying the sculpture down the winding woodland trail to its spot.
The Price Sculpture Forest is slated to open Friday, Oct. 23. It has two trail loops, “Nature Nurtured” and “Whimsy Way.”
The latter loop is now home to the T-rex sculpture. It is positioned so the dinosaur is hidden until rounding a bend in the trail reveals its head. It even seems as if the creature is literally walking out of some nearby primordial-looking ferns.
“I just loved the T-rex, especially for Whimsy Way,” Price said.
Many artists are currently having their art pieces installed in the park before its opening. There are local artists represented in the park and others from out of state. Some artists contacted Price about displaying their work, and Price reached out to others.
Such was the case for Joe Treat, an artist living in Bow, who makes his sculptures from pieces of driftwood collected on the beaches of the Pacific Northwest. Price saw one of Treat’s sculptures in a local art show and contacted him about getting one of his sculptures installed in the new Coupeville park.
The Skagit Valley artist is known for his extensive collection of driftwood sculptures, which decorate his front yard and have attracted many spectators.
“I’m a guy who just discovered my passion four or five years ago with no art background and no woodworking background,” Treat said.
He has made 60 sculptures using deck screws and threaded bolts to fasten the wood. The T-rex sculpture took him about two or three weeks to finish.
Sometimes he looks for certain shapes of driftwood, and other times, the pieces inspire him. He has found pieces that look like feathers and used a torch to make them look more feathery. One time he found a piece shaped like a brain and decided to make a zombie with it.
Treat will be visiting the Price Sculpture Forest soon to touch up his masterpiece.
“I was so impressed with that park and preserving that land,” he said. “I’m just really honored to be a part of that, because I know that there’s some world-class sculptures in there.”
A gorilla sculpture, much smaller in stature than the T-rex, is also being displayed in the park. Price said it was placed on an eight-foot-tall old growth tree stump, so the primate is looking down at park visitors.
Sculptures in the park are made out of all kinds of materials. Price said he prefers the variety.
A Pegasus sculpture, made of wire, has a 17-foot wingspan and hangs suspended between two trees. During the last windstorm on the island, the sculpture became entangled in the tree branches. It had to be rescued by Tom Otto, the star of the Animal Planet show, “Treetop Cat Rescue.”
The park is still accepting artworks under its two themes of Nature Nurtured and Whimsy Way. Like an art gallery, installations in the park are not intended to be permanent.
The park sits on 16 acres with plenty of open space. The goal, Price explained, is to avoid having the trails be too cluttered with sculptures.
Price Sculpture Forest is a nonprofit organization and will be open to the public soon.
Price will be kicking off the opening weekend by leading tours of nine people around the trails.
Reservations can be made on the park’s website, https://sculptureforest.org.
Spots are filling up fast and Price anticipates he will be leading more tours beyond opening weekend. All tours are free of charge.
“Everybody is welcome, whether they can pay or not,” Price said.
In addition, self-guided tours will be available. Visitors to the park will be able to type a short URL into their phones or scan a QR code and get information about each sculpture.