Sculpture of Friday Harbor founder Edward Warbass to be placed in Sunshine Alley

Submitted by the Town of Friday Harbor

Northwest artist Gareth Curtiss has been selected by Town of Friday Harbor staff to complete a life-size bronze sculpture of the town founder Capt. Edward D. Warbass. The piece will include Warbass sitting on a park bench with his dog, Bob, by his side. The artwork is scheduled for installation on the sidewalk at the First Street entrance to Sunshine Alley by summer 2019. View a model of the piece at the town hall administrative office.

Curtiss was selected from several professional bronze artists who responded to the town’s 2017 request for sculpture proposals. An art selection panel composed of representatives of the Friday Harbor Arts Commission, local arts community and neighboring properties reviewed proposals from artists based in Washington, Idaho, British Columbia, Chicago and Spain. The panel’s recommendation was discussed publicly last fall, and both the Friday Harbor Arts Council and Town Council agreed with the panel’s unanimous to select Curtis.

“We were impressed with the creative design he presented as well as the appealing and realistic style of his previous works,” said arts council member Diane Martindale.

Curtiss presented his maquette at the Aug. 16 town council meeting, where he explained his process and offered to complete a portion of the sculpting at a public venue on a return visit to Friday Harbor. Most of the sculpting will take place at his Shelton, Washington studio, with casting completed at his personal foundry in Montana. In his 30 years as a professional sculptor, Curtis has completed close to 50 pieces that are displayed throughout the country. Samples of his work can be viewed at

Warbass is one of three men credited with founding the town. He was instrumental in breaking San Juan County away from Whatcom County and making Friday Harbor its county seat. The art site was selected to highlight an entrance to Sunshine Alley as part of the town’s Sunshine Alley design plan. The bench will face Warbass’s namesake street, Warbass Way.

This is the third major art project involving the Friday Harbor Arts Council since its formation in 2015. Previous projects include the Sunken Park mural, “Witness the Beauty,” and the stone benches created by Tom Small for Breezeway Park.