Unique canoe sculpture nearly completed

Unique canoe sculpture nearly completed
LEWISTON - Coming into Lewiston across the Blue Bridge, motorists are greeted by a stack of canoes.

Those canoes didn't get washed up by a wind storm. They're part of the city's effort to beautify the entrance.

"We're trying to make it an inviting entrance, not only for folks commuting back and forth across the river, but also our visitors that come here," said Director of Lewiston Parks and Recreation Lynn Moss. "We're trying to, obviously have that "wow" piece. As new people come to the community and they see that and they stop and they think about it and they go home and they talk about that canoe wave in Lewiston, Idaho."

The East Entrance Project, which includes the wave of canoes, will also create a park area around the sculpture and enhancements to the area around the bridge.

But art is not cheap and the price tag on the entire project is just over $900,000. Moss said the sculpture itself costs just over $99,000.

Most of the project money comes from the Idaho Transportation Department, with the city's match is approximately $55,000.

Alabama-based artist Christopher Fennel is the artist.

"I would say maybe at about the 80% completion point," said Moss. "Fennel lived here, he was here for October and November. And the weather just kind of got crappy before he was able to get done. So he headed back home. He'll be back in March to finish it. He's still got some more canoes to go up on top, and several canoes that will go along the base of the ground."

Approximately 30 canoes are already in place just north of the Interstate Bridge. But will Valley residents catch Fennel's vision in this very modern piece of art?

"Some people think it's cool, it's neat," said Moss. "It's a different type of art that we do not have here in Lewiston, and they like it. We've got other people that think we've wasted $99,500."

"It's pretty interesting as far as art goes," said resident Melinda Daniels. "I'm not sure why they put it where they put it, hidden behind a building. I could think of better things for that amount of money."

"The canoe statue over by the Clarkston bridge, I think it is pretty cool, it's creative," said resident Jag Atwal.

Moss said the project should be completed by this summer.