One Step Ahead
Statement by Artist Georgia Gerber -
Whimsy is largely in the mind of the beholder. To me, the very thought of placing a four-foot duck in an important community space is whimsical from the start. Rather than push that whimsy into other realms by dressing it in clothing or giving it human characteristics, I have decided to dress my duck with a waggish attitude, a jaunty stride, and a duckling that is along for the ride.
To emphasize the sculpture’s connection to the man it memorializes, I have chosen a male duck. The duckling riding on his back is at once an inclusive generational reference, a symbol of family and parenthood, and an important sculptural element. A primary goal of this commission is to encourage interaction. To that end, I have made the figures realistic, with a warmth and approachability that is inviting. The inclusion of the duckling enhances this in several ways. I find that people connect most deeply and readily with images that include an interaction within the sculpture itself, and in particular when that interaction is between an adult and a child. Multiple figures within a sculpture intensify the mystery of the piece. Viewers are encouraged to imagine the story on more levels than when faced with a single figure. This enriches the narrative aspect of the artwork - a quality that is particularly relevant given its proximity to a library.
Thank you to the following people who helped make “One Step Ahead” a reality:
UP for Arts: Patricia Lebbert, Sally Zimmer, Debbie Klosowski, Ruth Burks, Gail Janes, Lori Forrest, Tom Davis, Pat Davis, Elmira White, Dolly Monaghan, Karen Benveniste, Helen Hein, Cindy Bonaro, Dixie Harris.
Artist Selection Team Members Terry Pullen, Kevin Keating, Agnes McLin, Ruthann Reim McCaffree, Gail Janes, Karen Benveniste, Patricia Lebbert
*City of University Place Parks and Public Works Director Gary Cooper for his assistance and support.
*Tacoma Narrows Rotary for providing the bronze plaque
*Artist Georgia Gerber and Randy Gerber georgiagerber.com
Funding for “One Step Ahead” was provided by contributions from UP for Art, the Terry D. Reim Memorial Fund and a matching state grant for Market Square as approved by the University Place City Council.
About Terry Reim
Terry D. Reim arrived in University Place courtesy of the U.S. Army in 1966. He chose to make the “community” his home. His children were raised here. His businesses were headquartered here and his abundant creative energy was invested in helping University Place thrive.
He dedicated time and energy to multiple service organizations and community advisory committees. After the passage of I-695, the city needed to attract more businesses for revenue and for lifestyle.
Striving to encourage business growth and success, Terry’s motto became, “Shop Local”.
He and Dixie Harris co-established the University Place Farmer’s Market, located where the new town center is today. To bring customers to the site, Terry and Dixie started the “Duck Parade”; this annual tradition now kicks off a larger celebration called, “Duck Daze”, held the first Saturday in June, signaling the end of the legendary NW rainy season.
Terry died in 2003, but the duck is part of his legacy. Georgia Gerber, a well known Washington state sculptor, was selected to create a whimsical duck to honor Terry’s many contributions to University Place. The bronze Duck titled, “One Step Ahead”, aptly describes Terry’s personality and his vision for the future University Place.