When the Magic Valley Arts Council set about obtaining the first piece of artwork for the new Canyon Rim Public Art Project, a two-for-one approach wasn’t the plan.
Art for the Community
After a national call for submissions, the council, whose project partners include the Twin Falls Area Chamber of Commerce’s beautification committee and the Twin Falls Parks and Recreation Department, chose a submission from Coeur d’Alene artist David Clemons. His subject? Twins.
“We were looking for a project that would kick off our art in public places program, which through the city of Twin Falls dedicates municipal funding to arts projects in the community,” says Stacy Madsen, executive director of the arts council. “We had initially talked about doing something functional, like a water fountain, and then we decided that we’d like to see an actual piece of sculpture that would celebrate the community, a thing of beauty that people could see, and what we hope is the first installation in a sculpture walk at the canyon.”
Located at the Perrine Bridge Trail View Point, Clemons’ sculpture of twins seems to soar out of the canyon rock and head skyward. The piece is a stunner, and since its April 2008 installation, it has been a bigger hit than the council, or the artist, could have imagined.
“People tend to take a strong position on public art, either loving or hating it,” Madsen says. “Everyone has really embraced this art, even those who weren’t too sure about it back when we were seeking input on the project. It represents the community in a beautiful way, and they have responded to that.”
And that’s what Clemons says he had in mind all along.
Art that Serves the Community
“Sometimes communities can be a little jaded by artists who come in and assume that the community’s job is to love their vision, their view, whether they understand it or not,” he says. “To me, it’s the community’s art, and it should serve them. It’s good if the piece gets a discussion going, but there’s much more to art than that. I don’t want to create introverted art that’s about my introspection, but art that’s extroverted, that reaches out to people.”
The very public piece also helps elevate the arts council’s profile.
“Doing public pieces like this can bring a lot of good, positive response to us, and to our programs,” says Madsen. “We are finding now that people are thinking of us when they are looking to get involved in community programs, and that’s the response we were hoping for.”
Learn more about the arts in Twin Falls, ID.