Public art project at City Hall building unveiled this week

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  • Artist Charity Flowers works on the art sculpture "Harmony Waters" that is being installed outside Whitefish City Hall. (Courtesy photo)

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    Melanie Drown and Charity Flowers worked on the art sculpture for Whitefish City Hall. (Heidi Desch/Whitefish Pilot)

  • Artist Charity Flowers works on the art sculpture "Harmony Waters" that is being installed outside Whitefish City Hall. (Courtesy photo)

  • 1

    Melanie Drown and Charity Flowers worked on the art sculpture for Whitefish City Hall. (Heidi Desch/Whitefish Pilot)

A sculpted bronze art piece will be unveiled this week putting the finishing touch on Whitefish City Hall.

The sculpture Harmony Waters depicts whitefish swimming up a rocky stream bed. The work is the creation of artist Charity Flowers.

“It’s about community and stewardship of the land,” Flowers explains. “The two things that I think mean the most to this town.”

In designing the new City Hall building, which opened up in 2017, architects left a space near the front entrance for a public art piece. City officials tapped Stumptown Art Studio to create the privately-funded artwork.

Flowers looked at a number of influences into the heritage of the community and presented a series of sketches to the City Hall design committee, which narrowed down the concept to the whitefish. Flowers and the studio’s director Melanie Drown worked on the project to bring it to life.

“The city approached us about a design for the exterior space for public art,” Melanie Drown said. “It’s was an honor for them to come to us to put something together.”

The cost of the art piece totaled about $10,000.

Once the concept was approved, Flowers set about creating the clay sculpture for the three-dimensional whitefish to swim up the rocky background set in an 18-inch wide column.

Flowers sculpted the art piece, which was then cast in bronze by Kalispell Art Casting. It’s a process that takes about six months and requires making multiple molds to create the finished sculpture.

“It’s a labor intensive process that involved about 20 different people working on 10 different steps,” Flowers explained.

After the sculpture was cast in bronze, Flowers added patina to the sculpture to give it more colors and then a final finish of varnish.

An unveiling for the sculpture and reception will take place on Thursday, Dec. 5 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at City Hall.

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