The Edmond Sun

State News

November 26, 2013

City considers relocating Houston sculpture here

EDMOND — The Edmond City Council voted 5-0 to purchase a $250,000 bronze sculpture for no more than $90,000, a figure which includes transportation costs with the condition the artwork is in acceptable condition.

“Touch the Clouds” is a bronze sculpture located at the Houston Astrodome, which is about to be demolished, Shadid said. This piece is available for a $50,000 donation to the Houston Rodeo Livestock Association, plus additional costs for relocation.

Internationally known sculptor Dave McGary, who created the piece, died about three weeks ago, Shadid said. “Touch the Clouds” is part of his Warrior Series. The sculpture depicts a Miniconjou chief of the late 19th century, a cousin of the Sioux warrior, Crazy Horse, according to McGary’s website.

His artwork has been placed overseas and “Touch the Clouds” is recognized as one of McGary’s significant pieces of art, Shadid said.

“The City of Edmond will get an enormous amount of press out of this,” Shadid said.

Bob Thomas of Edmond knew the artist and his representative in Ruidoso, N.M. He made the suggestion to Shadid to see if the city would be interested in purchasing “Touch the Clouds” for its collection.

“I said, ‘Well, there’s no matching money for it,’” Shadid said. “‘But I’ve talked to several councilmen before and they want some larger pieces  for the city’s collection.’”

“Touch the Clouds” is 18 feet tall with a 15-foot-wide wing span weighing 20,000 pounds. There was an early cost estimate of $15,000 to move the sculpture from Houston to Ruidosa, Shadid said. Another cost estimate of $42,000 was made to move the sculpture to a museum in Atlanta.

Shadid received a cost estimate of $34,000 to move the sculpture to Edmond. But he is looking for less expensive ways to transport the piece. “Touch the Clouds” is already insured for $100,000.

The $34,000 cost includes removing the piece from its current base. A crane would be needed to lift the sculpture before placing it on a truck that is designed to carry the piece.

Two cranes would be needed to reset the bronze sculpture on a new base in Edmond. Shadid said it would be too expensive for the city to purchase the current base, which is 15 feet tall. A 5-foot-tall concrete pedestal could be built to hold it, Shadid said.

Mayor Charles Lamb said somebody representing the city needs to travel to Houston to evaluate the condition of the sculpture.

Shadid volunteered to travel there at his own expense. A representative from Houston told Shadid that “Touch the Clouds” has been maintained and is in good structural condition, he said.

A destination point in Edmond has not been selected, said Steve Commons, assistant city manager. The sculpture needs to be relocated by February. Commons said the public is invited to suggest where “Touch the Clouds” should be placed.

“I just thought it was an opportunity that will not come again in our lifetime,” Shadid said.

TO LEARN MORE about the bronze sculptures of Dave McGary, visit http://www.davemcgary.com/expressions-in-bronze-sculptures.htm.

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