Artwork Welcomes Visitors to University Place
Two eagles, perched atop boulders overlooking a cascading waterfall and seasonal vegetation, greets visitors to University Place. This eye-catching landmark serves as a dramatic gateway into the City’s Town Center.
Created by, internationally renowned local artist Doug Granum, in the roundabout at 40th and Drexler Drive.
According to Mr. Granum, the artwork embodies the spirit of University Place:
“The largest stone…weighs about 20 tons. For the fun of it, I put a large eagle egg to go with the eagles. While this gives the work a whimsical and fun feeling, it also suggests the idea of nesting, home, mother, father, comfort, love…in other words, a number of subliminal messages that I feel are consistent with the sense of community and the new Town Center.”
Selecting the artwork, however, involved a great deal of time and effort by City staff, Friends of Homestead Park, a representative of the business community and UP for Art.
The group met for weeks working to define an aesthetically pleasing art installation that would also meet significant safety and maintenance requirements.
The City Council originally approved $16,575 to cover grading, irrigation, soil, plants and bark chip for the new roundabout. UP for Art, a volunteer nonprofit local organization dedicated to public art, later approached the City to suggest a partnership to include public art to enhance the sense of place at this key location in Town Center. UP for Art agreed to donate $10,000 along with facilitating the request for proposals from regional artists. The City accepted the proposal and approved a citizen’s committee composed of UP for Art members, Friends of Homestead Park, a business representative and a city engineer which reviewed 21 proposals for the site.
All proposals were reviewed using various criteria such as the ability to meet established design standards for roundabout safety, including the required line of sight needed for vehicles entering the roundabout. The City also preferred the inclusion of large trees or some other element to help reduce the sun’s glare affecting drivers coming into town. Use of natural elements, durability and maintenance issues were also evaluated. The suggested “natural theme” was consistent with earlier citizen input received during the Town Center visioning process.
After reviewing all proposals, the committee forwarded two recommendations to the City Council for consideration. Although the City Council favored a proposal by Doug Granum, the initial cost estimates were greater than expected. The council directed City staff and UP for Art to return with a revised proposal. A few weeks later, the City Council approved a revised proposal which included the originally allocated funds for landscaping, a $10,000 donation from UP for Art and a $4,000 contribution from citizen donations to the Beautification Fund. The artist, Doug Granum, is also providing significant donations to the project.
So by partnering with volunteers and combining $14,000 in donations with the originally budgeted landscaping amount, the City will receive a significant piece of art and landscaping for our community.
Douglas Granum beside nesting stone