By Brandi Makuski
The Stevens Point City Council on Monday gave final approval to some expensive artwork to adorn a new northside roundabout.
Two metal pieces, commissioned by Junction City blacksmith artist Boleslaw Kochanowski, will greet motorists using the new roadway feature sometime next year.
The council approved the new art with very little discussion on Oct. 15, with Councilwoman Cindy Nebel alone speaking against the issue, citing concerns over cost consider the city’s current budget challenges.
“I do agree we need the art pieces there, I’m just not sure this is the time,” Nebel said.
Sara Brish, executive director of the Stevens Point Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, along with Greg Wright, executive director of CREATE Portage County, both spoke in favor of the new art, referencing its impact of placemaking and quality of life for the area.
The city announced in March it would seek some type of artistic welcome sign to install alongside the Bus./ 51/North Point Dr. roundabout, with the help of CREATE Portage County.
The first piece is designed as a chevron shape of the word “Point” that’s “more of a piece of art and welcome sign simultaneously,” Wright said.
The 14-foot-tall tree would be comprised on copper aged to have a bit of a green look to it, with the lettering fashioned using a “chestnut brown” metal, Wright said. Additional lettering would be 8-10 feet tall, he said, and the sign is about 20 feet wide.
The cost of the “Point” welcome sign is estimated at $62,000.
The art would be visible from multiple angles and would be “Instagram-able”, so it can also perform as a photo destination for residents and visitors that can be shared via social media.
The second piece of art features the Polish paper-cutting art of Wycinanki via a series of oversized pine cones, scaled in six-, eight-, and 10-foot-sized art pieces, also brown in color. The pieces would still be constructed with metal using a blacksmith, Wright said, but “it gives a nod to the Polish heritage” of the community.
The pine cone art would be placed near the trailhead of the Green Circle Trail, Wright said, acting as an “extension” of the city’s Sculpture Park on Second St. North.