Plans to commission a community sculpture in Victoria are moving ahead, sparked by the town’s celebration of its 100th anniversary this year.
The idea surfaced in January from a committee of city and community leaders planning events to mark Victoria’s centennial. A concept for the sculpture was presented this spring to the City Council.
Fundraising plans are underway, according to Randy Miller, who served on the committee and also is president of the Victoria Business Association.
“Our purpose goes beyond just promoting Victoria this year, but to have something that can promote it and draw the community together in the years ahead,” Miller said.
No firm decision has been made on where to place the sculpture, although the city has been working on a plan that could put it in Bayfront Park in Victoria’s downtown.
The sculpture could wind up being a true Carver County production. Victoria resident Deb Zeller, whose sculptures have appeared in public installations throughout the country and in Canada, has worked with Miller and the committee on the design and has volunteered her time to produce the final piece. Miller said he expects the fabrication of the sculpture will be done by Storms Welding & Mfg., a metalworking business in Cologne.
The main element of the sculpture is a large V intersected by three other pieces that look like waves. Another arch-shaped piece spans the top of the V and has an outline depicting trees and people. The idea is to evoke Victoria’s long-standing nickname as “The City of Lakes and Parks” because it has over 200 acres of reserved land, 22 parks, and 12 lakes within its borders. Victoria is also the home of the over 1,200-acre Carver Park Reserve, a Three Rivers Park District property.
Zeller said she produced about a dozen variations of the design after an initial meeting with Miller.
“There were a lot of options,” Zeller said. “I got excited about one and recommended it, and that turned out to be the one the centennial committee chose. I was really surprised, because I have worked in the public art area before, and getting that many people to agree on something usually takes a long time. The decision was basically unanimous, which was an absolute treat.”
Zeller typically works in bronze. Miller said the committee quickly realized that material would be beyond its reach financially. The sculpture is expected to be about six feet tall, and a bronze work could cost as much as $50,000, Miller said.
Miller said the committee explored the idea of using concrete for the V, with steel for the other portions, but now is leaning toward having the entire piece made of steel. He said he is hoping to keep the cost below $10,000. An all-steel piece also could be easier to maintain in addition to being less costly, he said.
The city has not committed funds, but Mayor Tom O’Connor said the City Council supports the project and may contribute. Miller said plans call for raising money for the sculpture in the community, including the 85 members of the business association.
This won’t be Zeller’s first outdoor sculpture for the Victoria area. “Convocation,” a work commissioned by Holy Family Catholic High School, is in a courtyard in front of the school. Another work, “Goddess of the Grapes,” is among the pieces by several artists on the grounds of Waconia’s Parley Lake Winery, which is operated by Zeller’s husband, Steve.