The public art project that drew much controversy is finally mounted Wednesday in its place at the center of the island located between the Ashland Public Library and Fire Station No. 1 a year and a half after its selection.
The piece, called “Threshold” is designed and executed by Seattle-based artist Susan Zoccola — an artist whose work is on display in numerous public places, including in Seattle’s international airport, in a middle school hall and on the streets of Everett, Washington.
The $100,000, 22-foot sculpture was inspired by the artist’s first time visiting Ashland.
“I have been moved by the vitality of the city, the natural beauty found everywhere, the richness of the performing and visual arts communities and the way people I met felt really committed and connected to their city,” Zoccola wrote in her description of the sculpture.
The piece creates curiosity as views of it change in all directions, serving as a welcome to Ashland at its site on the southeast end of downtown.
The freestanding sculpture is made of vertical painted metal poles, with an assemblage of interconnected spirals of steel tubes, connected with horizontal steel wire fashioned into a kind of rope.
The city started a Public Art Master Plan in 2007 — the same year the council voted to start dedicating 3 percent of the city’s transient occupancy tax proceeds to public arts.
In 2015, Zoccola applied following a national call for a city of Ashland contemporary art project. She was chosen with her first design, “Gather,” in September the same year.
Following a public outcry, the council tasked Zoccola was creating an alternative design, which later became “Threshold.” The City Council chose it over "Gather" in June 2016.
“I love Ashland and I am honored to make the sculpture there,” Zoccola said in an interview in December. “I’m glad the process let me be inspired to create ‘Threshold.’”
— Reach reporter Tran Nguyen at 541-776-4485 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on twitter @nguyenntrann.