Casper Council Moves Forward With Windhenge
On Tuesday, in the pre-meeting of the Casper city council, they discussed what progress the city has made in approving artist Chris Navarro's prospective art installation Windhenge.
The project, which Navarro originally came to council with on June 14, would repurpose used wind turbine blades into an art installation that would look similar to Stonehenge.
The company NextEra would be providing all of the funding for the project, as well as the blades, which would come from Minnesota and Colorado, though the city would still need to provide the area and the maintenance on the project.
Navarro said at the meeting that after he appeared before the council initially in June, he has been contacted by the mayor of Cheyenne and people from the city of Mills, who are both interested in building the project.
While all members of the council are in favor of the project for various reasons, some, like Mayor Ray Pacheco and Councilmember Amber Pollock wanted to consult artists in the community before moving forward.
Pollock said she currently opposes the project because there has not yet been a public hearing on the issue.
"Any public art we install, we need to plan on it being there forever, because the public will become attached to it, and will not want to see it moved, changed, altered, anything done to it, ever in perpetuity," Pollock said. "So to me, then, it makes sense for us to have a really robust process around making sure that if we are in fact dedicating land to public art, we have engaged as many stakeholders as we can to make sure that the art that goes there is what we want, is going to connect to the community, is going to serve people...at this point I don't think I'd support this because there's never been a public initiative to expand our public art offerings. Something I want to see in place first before we start pursuing public art projects. I love public art projects, but I think we're putting the cart ahead of the horse here."
Councilmember Bruce Knell said that they don't need to consult the local art community about this project due to it being built on city land.
John Henley, the city attorney, said that there is an artist in Minnesota, Randy Olsen, using the name Windhenge Art-Works, so he believes Navarro should change the name of his piece to avoid any issues of copyright infringement.
While most members gave a thumbs up for the city to move forward and consult stakeholders at some point in the future, Mayor Pacheco and councilmember Pollock gave a thumbs down.