Bridging the Source: Public Art and Payette Lake
The City of McCall and the McCall Arts and Humanities Council have partnered with Madacsi Studios to commission public artwork for the newly re-built Lardo Bridge that spans the outlet of beautiful Payette Lake. A gateway to the community core and adjacent to one of the city’s scenic lakefront public parks, the Idaho state highway bridge was originally built in 1931 and replaced in 2015, designed and engineered specifically to accommodate public art.
This project was made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town program and so we are working closely with the City to engage the McCall community in the design process through public outreach, workshops for students, and educational presentations with the intent of infusing into the artwork an expression of the community’s relationship with Payette Lake.
We've developed two proposals (left), each inspired by Payette Lake, embodied by themes of water and environment, bringing environmental stewardship into focus as well as the lake’s role as the community’s primary drinking water source, core of tourism economy, and ecologic health (such as water quality, fish and wildlife habitat). The McCall community has been invited to participate in the selection process by making comments and recommendations, giving collective direction to the City’s selection of the final proposal which will be installed in early 2019.
Public art infuses communal spaces with unexpected connections—creating memorable moments, a sense of place. Inviting the public to be involved the design processes is the best way to take the pulse of a community, and as part of our outreach we've held public meetings and online surveys to discuss the importance of public art in communities, and what the people of McCall believe artwork for the Lardo Bridge should express. Local students had the opportunity to participate in a blacksmithing workshop where they tried out their metal working skills and then created sketches to share their own ideas about what artwork for Lardo Bridge should illustrate.
Fish, water, and nature have all been common threads thorough the conversations that we've had and feedback we've gathered. By learning who the people are and what they value about where they live, we can create and customize designs which reflect that quality of life and those individual values. (click on images below to view larger)