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Centennial Trail sculpture celebrates ‘Resilience' of nature

Sculptural archway portraying entwined branches installed on Centennial Trail

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By Gale Fiege
Herald Writer
Published:
  • Artist Joe Powers welds his piece "Resilience" during the installation along the Centennial Trail north of Arlington. "It's called 'Res...

    Michael O'Leary / The Herald

    Artist Joe Powers welds his piece "Resilience" during the installation along the Centennial Trail north of Arlington. "It's called 'Resilience,' " he said, "because nature seems to survive no matter what we do." The piece will be dedicated Saturday.

  • Artist Joe Powers welds his piece "Resilience" during the installation along the Centennial Trail north of Arlington.

    Michael O'Leary / The Herald

    Artist Joe Powers welds his piece "Resilience" during the installation along the Centennial Trail north of Arlington.

  • A metal archway created by artist Joe Powers titled "Resilience" has been installed at north of Arlington along the Centennial Trail.

    Michael O'Leary / The Herald

    A metal archway created by artist Joe Powers titled "Resilience" has been installed at north of Arlington along the Centennial Trail.

  • A metal archway created by artist Joe Powers titled "Resilience" has been installed at north of Arlington along the Centennial Trail.

    Michael O'Leary / The Herald

    A metal archway created by artist Joe Powers titled "Resilience" has been installed at north of Arlington along the Centennial Trail.

ARLINGTON -- Machias sculptor Joe Powers sought to honor nature with his piece "Resilience."
Commissioned by the Snohomish County Arts Commission, the sculpture is scheduled to be dedicated Saturday morning on the Centennial Trail, north of Arlington.
Powers' art nouveau-style, stainless steel arch portrays the entwined branches of two trees.
"It's called 'Resilience' because nature seems to survive no matter what we do," Powers said. "The trail is on what used to be railroad tracks, which were carved into the wilderness. Now people get out on the trail to get away from the city and take in the natural beauty of our rural area. My philosophy of art is to complement the surroundings."
Powers, 55, is a longtime pipe fitter and welder. His sculptures can be seen primarily in the Seattle area.
"I've dabbled in art all my life, so it was natural that these jobs would intersect at some point," he said.
It took Powers most of this year to make the arch. For his work and materials, Powers was paid $40,000, which was funded by the 1 Percent for Arts program through the Snohomish County office of economic development.
The funding program requires a 1 percent contribution to the county's arts fund as part of county construction projects that cost at least $100,000. Funds generated by the 1 percent go only to the acquisition of art.
Artworks are selected based upon recommendations to the county executive by the Snohomish County Arts Commission. Since the program began, the county has installed and purchased 14 works from available funding.
The value of public art is clear, said Wendy Becker, economic and cultural development officer for the county.
"Economic analysis has confirmed that communities that invest in the arts attract strong companies and skilled workers who are attracted to communities in which art is alive," Becker said in a press release. "Communities across the country that have made an investment in the arts have created a catalyst to generate economic impact, stimulate business development, spur urban renewal, attract tourists and area residents to community activities that improve the overall quality of life in America's cities."
In the current recession, Powers said he expects that some people could be critical of the money spent for his arch.
"I agree that we should be careful with taxpayers' money," Powers said. "But this 1 Percent for the Arts program was approved by voters and the money is there. The thing is, our world is going so fast, we all need to stop, breathe and reflect on the good things in life. I hope 'Resilience' helps."
The 29-mile Centennial Trail is considered the county's largest park. It first opened in the Snohomish area in 1989, the state's centennial year. Most of it follows an abandoned railroad grade that was laid in the late 1800s.
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; gfiege@heraldnet.com.
Dedication
Snohomish County Arts Commission and Trail Coalition members, county officials including Executive Aaron Reardon and artist Joe Powers plan to gather for the dedication of a sculptural archway to the northern section of the Centennial Trail at 10 a.m.* Saturday across the Stillaguamish River from Haller Park, 1100 West Ave. The public is encouraged to attend.

*Update, Nov. 3, 2011: This story has been updated to show that the time for the event has been changed.


Story tags » SculptureArlingtonSnohomish County government

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