Sculpture placement finalized, expected this fall

The placement of the controversial Angel de la Creatividad sculpture was finalized with little controversy Tuesday.

Members of the Oak Harbor City Council approved the location of the 37-foot, 5-ton metal sculpture within Flintstone Park, a small waterfront park on Bayshore Drive. The sculpture, which will face the water, is expected to be installed this fall.

The council members previously chose the small park for the art piece after some members of the public were upset about the original plans to place it in the larger Windjammer Park. The sculpture, which is being donated to the city, became unexpectedly controversial in 2021 and was even a significant issue in the election. In June of 2021, a city survey – which some felt was flawed – reported that 70% of residents did not want the sculpture.

The uproar died down to nothing as time passed and the council decided a different park would be a better place for the work of art.

The piece was made by world-renowned artist Sebastián of Mexico City. His works are made or steel and/or concrete and are in locations around the world.

“These include a number of ‘gate’ sculptures such as the Gran Puerta a México in Matamoros, Tamaulipas but his most famous sculpture is the ‘Caballito’ located in downtown Mexico City. His works are found in various cities outside Mexico, such as Japan where two are now used as city symbols,” according to Sculpture Northwest, a group that is funding most of the costs of installation.

On Tuesday, the council approved the exact placement of the sculpture near the water as recommended by the installation committee, which met at the site earlier this year.

Councilmember Bryan Stucky said it was appealing to hear that the meeting was the last time the sculpture would be before the council.

“The public is tired of hearing this,” he said.

The only hiccup is the proximity of a flagstaff. Brian Smith, city Parks and Recreation director, said the city might want to move it, noting that Councilmember Beth Munns suggested placing it in the Veterans Memorial Park.

The flagstaff has a plaque explaining that it was dedicated on Armed Forces Day in 1991.

“Our National Ensign Was Flown From This Flagstaff Aboard The Naval Air Station For More Than 45 Years, And Was Erected Here Through Joint Efforts Of The City And The Navy,” the plaque states.

Stucky noted the sculpture’s controversial history and argued that the flag pole should be left alone.

“I would definitely encourage not moving the flag pole or the plaque because the PR nightmare on something like that is not going to be good,” he said.

A decision on the flagstaff and plaque was not made at the meeting.

Smith explained that permits for the sculpture were submitted and that borings and geotechnical analysis are being completed.

The city earlier estimated that it will spend $35,000 from the arts fund to cover installation costs.

“Much of the cost is handled by Sculpture Northwest and the city does not know what these costs include,” City Administrator Blaine Oborn said in an email.

The city is working on a website page to provide additional information to the public.