An eight-metre tall bronze sculpture of a blue heron, created by internationally-recognized artist Jock Hildebrand, will soon have a home in Nelson.
The City had the opportunity to have the sculpture donated by the developer that commissioned it, in exchange for a tax receipt.
“I think Heron’s Landing will be a perfect fit for Nelson, which is both a waterfront community and an arts community,” said developer Michael Lobsinger, who is donating the sculpture on behalf of Lake Placid Investments Inc. “I’m very pleased that the sculpture has found a new home.”
Receiving the donated sculpture was in line with the efforts of Nelson's Cultural Development Commission and its Art in Public Places Policy to develop a visually rich cultural environment, said Coun. Donna Macdonald, a member of the CDC.
"While our focus is mainly on local and regional artists, the policy also encourages the participation of national and international artists, such as Mr. Hildebrand. The CDC looks forward to working with the City to find a home for this beautiful heron."
Council approved the acquisition of the sculpture at their July 7 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.”
The 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.
There are a number of public places in Nelson where the sculpture might be placed, including existing parks and public buildings, or one of the new parks and plazas called for in the plan. City staff will work with the CDC to decide on an appropriate location.
For his part, sculptor Hildebrand, of West Kelwona, is pleased that his blue heron will land in Nelson.
“The sculpture speaks of the iconic presence of the great blue heron, a bird that is native to our locale,” said Hildebrand. “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.”