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I am pleased to see that the Historic Sculptures Master Plan Committee (HSMPC) has mapped out a 10-year plan for life-sized statues of historic figures to be placed around town (Monitor, Feb.17). The unified theme would be a positive result.
The cost, for 13 statues at $60,000 to $80,000 apiece, is indicated at between $820,000 and $1,040,000. In view of the desperate need of Los Alamos for indigenous industry, I would like to suggest that consideration be given to making that money work a little harder than it would if the money is simply shipped off the Hill in return for work executed elsewhere.
Would it be possible to offer some creative sculptor a 10-year commission to produce the statues, provided the artist locates his or her studio in Los Alamos County?
An international competition could be held, based upon the sculptor’s previous work and concept drawings, to select the winner. I envisage that he/she could make and sell other work independently, provided he/she met some progress schedule for the historic sculptures and the works retained acceptance. He/she would have to use a foundry off the Hill, perhaps Shidoni, but his/her studio would be in the county and he/she would be the county’s “Sculptor in Residence.” This would be a featured artist, perhaps something like Roxanne Swentzell at Pojaque Pueblo, or long before, Leonardo DaVinci at the Medici court in Florence.
I feel sure that there are all sorts of creative sculptors out there, graduated from fine art schools across the country, who would leap at the chance to build an early reputation in a post that offers considerable artistic challenge, creative freedom and some financial security. A permanent artist working around town, perhaps selling his/her minor works through the Art Store at Fuller Lodge, would be a significant cultural addition to Los Alamos and hopefully, might spur further artistic development.