Acorn sculpture plans change

Plans for transforming remnants of the 330-year-old Garry oak tree that once stood next to the Oak Harbor post office into something artistic have changed.

The proposal to commission three giant acorn sculptures has been reduced to one and the budget slashed in half.

The changes are based on the Oak Harbor Arts Commission’s available funds, other projects and the condition of the Garry oak wood.

In February, the arts commission voted to reduce the scope of the project, which cut the budget from $30,000 to $15,000.

The budget reduction “will free up some of the creative arts funds for some other projects,” arts commission Chairman Rodric Gagnon said during last week’s council workshop, which was held online.

There was some concern about how to preserve the sculpture for future generations.

“If this is varnished right, it should be fine outside. But, ideally, you would put them indoors,” City Administrator Blaine Oborn said.

Other ideas about how to preserve the sculpture included building a plexiglass structure to shield the giant acorn from the weather to installing the completed sculpture indoors.

The wood that would be used to make the sculpture is currently deteriorating.

The tree was cut down in 2014 and the remaining wood is being stored in a shed at the public works facility.

“The wood is certainly not under perfect conditions,” Gagnon said. “It’s not in a climate controlled area.”

“It’s just under some cover so it’s still minimally exposed to elements,” he added.

Gagnon added that the wood has not been treated.

The arts commission is in the process of interviewing artists to create the sculpture.

According to arts commission member Therese Kingsbury, three Island County wood carvers were interviewed so far, and she has spoken to a couple of artists in Fall City who are interested in the project.

“There’s plenty of people with the talent to do it, but I really would like to keep it on the island,” Kingsbury said.

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