Saturday’s (May 11) dedication of internationally renowned glass artist George C. Scott’s latest artwork came, fittingly, on a bright, sunny day that put its rainbow of colors on full display.
The 10-foot-high by six-foot-wide refurbished shipping lane buoy that is the frame of “Marinascope” was initially used in the construction of the second Tacoma Narrows Bridge that was dedicated a dozen years ago. Scott rescued the derelict, pockmarked its exterior with portholes of varying size, and then powder coated it inside and out so as to withstand the elements. The holes were then filled with fused glass panels created by local residents.
The walk-through “Marinascope,” is a larger-than-life kaleidoscope that reflects both history and the colors of nearby Puget Sound. And, to reflect the ever-changing nature of the waterfront, is a work-in-progress as Scott plans to add new features over time.
And as of May 11, it is the latest addition to the community’s Art on Poverty Bay project and is now the central focus of Des Moines’ South Marina Park at the South 227th Street entrance to the Des Moines Marina.
The sculpture was envisioned in 2015 as a collaboration between community organizations, including the Des Moines Waterfront Farmers Market, to tell the story of the environmental, nautical and economic history of Des Moines Waterfront.
The project, commissioned by the Des Moines Legacy Foundation, was made possible with funding from the Port of Seattle ACE Grant, the City of Des Moines, the Des Moines Marina and Parks, Recreation and Senior Services Department, and the support of the Des Moines Historical Society, the Waterland Blog and from student and community member artists.
Many of those who had a hand in the project were on hand were in attendance at the ceremony May 11 when the community paid homage to two former Des Moines Legacy Foundation board members Nancy Stephan and the late Carmen Scott (no relation to the artist).
Just before Stephan and Carmen Scott’s son, David Bonathan, cut the ribbon for the official dedication (pictured right), Legacy Board Member Patrice Thorell described the impact of Stephan and Scott’s tireless efforts to enhance the arts and preserve historic resources for the betterment of the community.
She said it has been Stephan’s years-long passion to make Des Moines a place for great art. As an arts commissioner, including a stint as chairman, Stephan researched how to create a temporary outdoor sculpture garden, based on other highly successful projects in communities such as Puyallup.
Stephan established a process for jurying and selecting the art and proposing locations for the plinths for the highest viability and economic impact. She then began fundraising for the project. The Art on Poverty Bay outdoor sculpture project was born in 2013 and is now in its fourth sculpture rotation.
Every two years, the temporary sculptures that have not been acquired by the Legacy Foundation or City are rotated out of the collection.
Thorell mused that the sculpture project only came into existence because Stephan is “an inspirational leader for the arts in Des Moines, who is not afraid to ask for money.”
As for the late Carmen Scott, representatives of the Legacy Foundation and the Waterfront Farmers Market began discussions with George C. Scott five years ago to create a public artwork as a tribute to Carmen Scott’s dedicated service to the community. She died Nov. 28, 2014.
Thorell described the former City councilwoman’s love of the City’s historic Beach Park and waterfront on the Puget Sound that is the inspiration for the “Marinascope” sculpture.
Carmen Scott worked tirelessly to protect the city’s historic Beach Park and promoted the listing of the historic district on the State and National Historic Places registers. She was a community historian and a professional photographer, and her photos of Des Moines are published in tourism magazines and on websites regionally. She was also a tireless promoter of the community, Thorell said.
She was also known for her meticulousness.
Her son, David Bonathan, joked that even as the dedication ceremony was underway, she would have been fussing over the placement of each glass panel.
As the ceremony was wrapping up, former Senior Services Manager for Des Moines Sue Padden glanced skyward through misty eyes and assured bystanders that “Carmen’s here.”