Construction of the new public art piece for Silver Park, George Ybarra’s sculpture “Perseverance and Passage,” has begun. Visitors to Silver Park on the riverfront near the civic stadium will see the metal sculpture take shape during July, with welding beginning on Monday, July 5. The City of Missoula’s Public Art Committee plans to officially celebrate the art as part of the First Friday gallery night in August.
The Missoula Public Art Committee issued an art call for Silver Park in October 2014. The selection process took four months.
“We received many proposals with merit, and the four finalists in particular presented strong and creative concepts,” said Public Art Committee chairman PeterLambros. “ After hours of lively consideration spanning many sessions and days, George Ybarra’s proposal was chosen for its bold sculptural representation of themes women into both the history of the site and of Missoula.”
The approximately $45,000 sculpture is funded by the City’s Percent for Art program, the Morris and Helen Silver Foundation and the Missoula Redevelopment Agency, the City’s urban renewal agency.
According to the artist, “Perseverance and Passage” is intended to commemorate the transitions in this area of Missoula and the endurance of the many travelers who have found their ways along the Clark Fork River as well as to acknowledge the dedication of the industrial mill workers who worked at the mill site over the years. The sculpture is of significant scale and size, which will encourage interaction between park goers and the piece. The Public Art Committee has every expectation that it will become an iconic piece of community art.
To engage Missoula children with the concept of public art, the Public Art Committee will sponsor an art contest in July, asking local children to take the “first phase” pictures of the sculpture and use their imaginations to finish it in their own design. The poster of the first phase of installation will be distributed to area summer camps and schools in session. The young artists’ renderings will be displayed downtown, and four winning entries will be honored on First Friday in August. Winning artists will receive annual memberships to SpectrUM Museum.
About the Artist
George Ybarra is a professional metal sculptor who has worked both as an artist and curator in Missoula since 1994. Ybarra has created a broad body of work for both private collectors and local businesses. Ybarra’s metal fabrications combine aspects of modern art with the uninhibited landscape to form original sculpture. Ybarra is the founder of the Annual Sculpture Outdoors event at Caras Nursery and Landscape, which is in its 11th year. This community art event features large-scale sculpture by regional artists.
To learn more about George Ybarra and his work, check out this video by Tim Goessman produced in 2013 for the Montana Kaimin.