New art installed across from Municipal Building
As the crane from McGough Construction gingerly swung the new sculpture “Chronicle” into place on its concrete pad east of the Municipal Building Friday morning, its creator, Waterloo artist Dan Perry, was seeing it in a way he’d never seen it before.
“This is the first time I’ve seen it standing up,” Perry said. “It’s 22 feet tall, but my studio only has 14-foot ceilings.”
Everything required to get the sculpture from its custom-built cradle on a flatbed trailer to setting it in place was carefully planned. Perry even brought along a wood template to drill the holes for the anchor bolts.
“It’s the culmination of a lot of planning,” he said. “You’re just hoping everything goes smoothly.”
Everything pretty much did.
Doug McGough, owner of McGough Construction in Fort Dodge, operated the crane himself.
It’s not his first lift of a piece of valuable art during an installation.
“Noooo,” he said.
“It’s much the same as any other lift,” he added.
Eric Anderson, director of the Blanden Memorial Art Museum, was among the first to see the piece when it arrived and also one of the first to snap a photograph of it.
He said public art like the new sculpture offers many benefits to the community.
“It spurs economic growth by bringing people to the area,” Anderson said. “People come downtown to see this and go ‘let’s see what else is here.'”
The area at First Avenue South and Ninth Street where “Chronicle” is installed was a building site until recently. The city of Fort Dodge purchased the building in April and demolished it. The site will be a combination of public art and parking area. The area includes a pedestal, paved area and a wall that’s the perfect height to sit and enjoy the day.
Anderson said he could envision people gathering there to enjoy the day, eat their lunch or just watch the passing scenery.
“This will be a catalyst that will spur other positive changes,” he said.
In June, the City Council approved the agreement with Perry for the sculpture, which is intended to help commemorate the 150th anniversary of the city charter.
City Engineer Tony Trotter worked on coordinating the project.
He said there’s still a bit of work to do including connecting the sculpture’s LED lights and finalizing plans for landscaping and plantings.
He appreciates the work that Jensen Builders Ltd., of Fort Dodge. did to help make the project a reality quickly.
“They really went out of their way to get this done,” Trotter said.
The $70,000 cost of the sculpture was paid for with a grant from the Catherine Vincent Deardorf Charitable Foundation. The site work and electrical work was done by the city of Fort Dodge.
After the lift, with only one bolt that gave the crew just a little bit of trouble, “Chronicle” went down on its pedestal and began casting its first day of interesting shadows on the sidewalk.
Once the bolts were tightened down, the tools picked up and sidewalk swept of concrete dust, Perry was going to walk a few yards away and just sit for a bit looking at his finished work.
“Then you step back and say ahhhh,” he said.
During the process of making it, he spent many hours figuring out the process along the way.
“You’re obsessed over every square inch,” Perry said.
The last few bits of work on the piece were done freehand, though.
It was his signature, welded on.