We are excited about the opportunity for change on our town plaza. The movement is strong to change the McKinley statue to something more reflective of our current community.
The idea of replacing the existing statue with a kinetic sculpture has been proposed. We are building on this concept, hoping to make it more relevant and widely supported.
We suggest the commissioning of a new piece of public art. The specific requirements would include melting down the existing McKinley statue, then reusing its metal to create a kinetic sculpture. This repurposing would be a primary component of the new work, an exchange symbolic of our area's environmental and artistic stance.
A kinetic sculpture would give liveliness to the square, drawing locals and tourists alike. The Kinetic Grand Championship has become nationally known as a fun and innovative component of Humboldt County. We see an opportunity to emphasize this positive aspect of our public image. Turning the old statue into something new could be an example in the ongoing debate about the many politically charged statues throughout our nation, generating good publicity for our area. We would reference the past and require the installation of a plaque with a statement of intent, including relevant history.
This could be community-driven project. A call to artists could be widely distributed and funds raised for the commission and its installation. The submitted proposals could be judged by a diverse community group, including business owners, historians, local tribe representatives, city council members, artists.
We back this transformative idea as a way to not hide the past but to acknowledge it and step into the future with possibility and responsibility. I'm submitting this letter with Jeannie Fierce, a fellow artist and member of the Arcata Artisans Gallery.
Anna Oneglia, Arcata