Some say it looks like a wreck at the Tour de France. One critic calls it Springs on Sticks. Whatever your favorite nickname, or your opinion of it, the sculpture titled "Threshold" is here to stay, for better or worse. We hope city leaders learned a lesson from the contentious process that led to last month's installation of the commissioned work at the Gateway Island between the Ashland library and Fire Station 1.
Nearly four years ago, the city's Public Art Commission asked for proposals for a work to be installed at the south entrance to downtown. More than 60 proposals were submitted, and the commission held six public meetings and selected three finalists. Seattle artist Susan Zoccola's design, "Gather," was selected in September 2015.
After an outburst of opposition, a divided City Council voted 4-2 to ask Zoccola to come up with an alternative design. The result was "Threshold," which the council eventually chose. It was installed last month.
We weren't especially enamored of "Gather," but it wasn't bad, either. The selection process worked as intended, and the public had plenty of opportunity to participate. We like "Threshold" somewhat less. But no work of public art will please everyone. Give this piece time, and wait for landscaping and lighting to be installed. You may find it grows on you.
The lesson in all of this for the council: Be careful trying to appease vocal critics. What you end up with might be less desirable than what you started with.