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Islanders raise $27K for Friday Harbor's first piece of public art

Journal photo / Steve Wehrly San Juan artist Micajah Bienvenu, center, contemplates the display of his sculpture, ‘Whale Tail’, following its installation at the intersection of A and First streets. Lori Stokes, who led the effort to raise the $27,000 the Town of Friday Harbor used to purchase the piece, stands between Bienvenu and town Administrator Duncan Wilson, far right.   - Steve Wehrly
Journal photo / Steve Wehrly San Juan artist Micajah Bienvenu, center, contemplates the display of his sculpture, ‘Whale Tail’, following its installation at the intersection of A and First streets. Lori Stokes, who led the effort to raise the $27,000 the Town of Friday Harbor used to purchase the piece, stands between Bienvenu and town Administrator Duncan Wilson, far right.
— image credit: Steve Wehrly

On a cold Thursday morning, Micajah Bienvenu's orca tail sculpture, "Fluke," was installed overlooking the auto ferry-waiting lanes at First and "A" streets.

“Fluke” weighs in at 180 pounds and is 4 feet high, 12 feet wide and 8 feet from front to back, slightly larger than most Orca flukes.

Sculptor Bienvenu resides and maintains his shop on Mount Dallas Road on San Juan Island. He produced the piece entitled “Dancing Fool” outside the front entrance of San Juan Community Theatre in Friday Harbor, and also has commissioned works installed in Coral Springs, Florida, Portland, Oregon, and in Bellevue, Kirkland, Walla Walla, Richland and Deer Park in Washington.

A dedication ceremony for the polished aluminum piece will be scheduled in the next few weeks.

Town Administrator Duncan Wilson said "Fluke" is covered by the town's property and liability insurance. "We'll probably put a "no climbing" sign on it to try to keep kids off," said Wilson.

Bienvenu said he had to polish out "several" scratches, probably from shoes or jean rivets, made when the sculpture was on display at Roche Harbor, where Bienvenu exhibits works for sale.

Local resident Lori Stokes led the effort to raise the $27,000 purchase price (including sales tax) from 31 residents and businesses. “I can’t thank Lori enough for her efforts on behalf of the Town” said Mayor Carrie Lacher. “She and the other contributors have provided us with a world-class statue that celebrates the natural assets we enjoy on San Juan Island. I want to thank everyone involved with this wonderful gift to our community.”

Several onlookers, including Wilson, said they hoped there would be more public sculptures in Friday Harbor, but Lori Stokes said this project was a one-off for her public art fundraising efforts, and Wilson didn't think town budget priorities would fund more sculptures anytime soon.

 

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