Bronze sculpture of a mother otter and pup. The beach is in the background.

Art in a Sandbox?

Public art flourishes on Whidbey and Camano islands. From the traditional wood carving welcome sign greeting people just getting off the ferry,to the sculpture park’s visual treats, there are plenty of locally-produced visual treasures that compete with those made by mother nature.

by Jack Penland

It’s quite a lovely piece of art and as whimsical as the toys. But the location just seemed odd. Why in a sandbox? Couldn’t it get damaged? It’s so small it could be overlooked. Another sculpture in the park, one that’s on a pedestal and quite beautifully shows the exuberance of people dancing, seems more normal.

It took me going to Georgia Gerber’s website for me to get it. There she writes, “I like my sculpture to invite an interaction with its audience. This is often meant to be a direct physical interaction…”

Much of her work is, of course easily touched. Rachel, the Pig is a constant center of attention at Pike Place Market and Boy and Dog is required viewing in Langley, and petting the dog is encouraged.

Otter Sculpture DNS0943

But the mother otter and infant were so small, and in a park that is itself small and too often missed by drivers getting off the ferry.

But, of course with a nudge from the artist, it all made sense. Art is created for a certain audience. I was not this one’s intended audience. Although I was welcome to view it, photograph it and enjoy it, this art’s audience is the one that doesn’t have to bend over to view it. This art’s audience is the owner of the small hands in the sand box.

This sculpture sits in a corner of the sandbox, welcoming inquisitive young minds and hands to come over, look at the art, touch the art, and explore the art as only a young mind can.

And, in doing so, the art also… touches them.

To Get to Clinton Park…

This park is located at the first stoplight after you get off the Clinton ferry, just beyond the ticket booths. Turn north into a small parking lot.

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