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Blue heron sculpture by internationally-recognized artist Jock Hildebrand for all to see on Nelson waterfront

Nelson Daily Staff
By Nelson Daily Staff
September 23rd, 2012

The blue heron has landed on the Nelson waterfront.

City staff erected the eight-metre tall bronze sculpture of a blue heron, created by internationally-recognized artist Jock Hildebrand, Friday adjacent to the Lakeside Soccer Pitch on the waterfront.

Council approved the acquisition of the sculpture at the July 7, 2011 meeting – the same meeting where they reviewed the new Sustainable Downtown and Waterfront Master Plan.

This plan describes public art as “a vital ingredient in the cultural fabric and streetscape of creative cities.”

It encouraged the City to provide cultural leadership in guiding “the evolution of a distinct and vibrant character of the city’s public places.”

However, comments were mixed as people saw the $200,000-donated-heron for the first time.

“Did that just get here yesterday . . . (I guess) it’s something that has to grow on you,” said one walker.

“I like it . . . it’s a piece of art and someone must have worked very hard on it,” said another resident.

One Nelson resident living in a house overlooking the playing fields wasn’t sure what the sculpture depicted.

“(My husband) thought it was a dragon and I thought it was a prehistoric bird so I had to come down to get a closer look,” she said.

CBC reported that the sculpture was supposed to sit in the plaza of a condo complex in Kelowna, but the developer and condo owners got into a disagreement and the $200,000-heron wound up in storage in Calgary.

“The sculpture speaks of the iconic presence of the great blue heron, a bird that is native to our locale,” Hildebrand said in a 2011 story in The Nelson Daily.

“To my sculptor’s eyes, the heron sculpture is graceful and abstracted, scaled in a manner that talked of the importance of not only herons, but of our environment in general.”


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