Moving fish, birds to adorn roundabouts

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Courtesy of CITY OF COEUR d’ALENE Sculptures of moving fish, pictured here, will grace one of the new roundabouts on Seltice Way. Similar work, depicting birds, will be installed at the other new roundabout on Seltice. Both are by Nevada artist David Boyer.

COEUR d’ALENE — A Nevada artist will fill two Seltice Way roundabouts with leaping fish and flying birds.

David Boyer, who owns Boyer Sculpture in Reno, will receive $160,000 for several colorful, welded pieces — fish and birds — that will grace two newly completed roundabouts on Seltice Way at the intersections of Atlas Road and Grand Mill Lane west of Coeur d’Alene.

The roundabouts are more than a mile apart, and a quarter mile north of the Spokane River.

Boyer’s proposal was chosen from among 130 submitted by artists across the U.S. who used criteria including local history, the closeness of the river, and ease of maintenance.

The process to choose public art for the site started in March and included narrowing down the most suitable pieces, asking artists to turn in miniature versions of their proposals — called maquettes — to be displayed in the city library. Comments gathered at the library were turned over to a committee, which finalized a decision.

After narrowing the field to six finalists, city administrator Troy Tymesen said the artists were interviewed via Skype.

“Interviews with each artist were conducted and the artists were asked about their experience and their vision for the Seltice Way roundabouts,” Tymesen said. “After thorough review and discussion... voting members filled out a rating score sheet for each artist.”

Boyer and his work received the highest score.

The artist is known for what he calls kinetic wind sculptures — painted metal outdoor art that is often pushed by the wind.

“They move very slowly in the direction of the prevailing wind,” Tymesen said.

Because a lot of Boyer’s work is commissioned for windy places on the high plains of Colorado and Nevada — it also appears in California and Seattle — it is made to withstand gale force winds of between 50 and 100 mph.

Boyer said the seven fish in his sculptures — which reside on elevated poles so they don’t obstruct the vision of motorists in the roundabout — were modeled after native cutthroat trout. The seven birds that sit on poles are models of eagles and ospreys.

“The fact that the fish and birds are swimming and flying in unison, is also symbolic of the many diverse peoples of the Coeur d’Alene area,” Boyer wrote in his proposal.

Funding for the work comes from the city’s Arts Fund, which is derived from the River urban renewal district. Ignite cda, the city’s urban renewal agency, annually provides 2 percent of its income to the city to pay for public art in its urban renewal districts, Tymesen said.

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