Sculpture coming to Port Townsend honors advocate for Protection Island
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Seattle artist Tony Angell with “Courting Guillemots.” Angell created the sculpture, which is slated to go on public display in downtown Port Townsend, in honor of Eleanor Stopps.

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — A sculpture honoring the late Eleanor Stopps will become the first piece of public art installed downtown since the “Salish Sea Circle” was unveiled in May 2011.

“Courting Guillemots” by Seattle artist Tony Angell, a sculpture of two birds that is about 3 feet in circumference, was created in honor of Stopps, a Port Townsend housewife, mother and conservationist who lobbied for a decade to have Protection Island at the mouth of Discovery Bay designated a wildlife refuge.

The efforts of Stopps, who died of cancer in April 2012 at the age of 92, are considered responsible for the 1982 establishment of the Protection Island National Wildlife Refuge, the only one created during the Reagan administration.

The City Council unanimously voted Monday to accept the sculpture and approve its placement in the area of the Northwest Maritime Center at 431 Water St., although the exact spot is yet to be determined.

The bronze sculpture is provided free of charge to the city. Angell cut his $20,000 asking price by half, and the fee was raised through private donations.

Administrative and installation costs of $3,000 will be paid from the Port Townsend Arts Commission’s budget.

“This is good for the city because we get a high-quality work from an excellent sculptor, and the initiative came from members of the community,” said arts commission chair Stan Rubin.

“It’s a wonderful piece of art, and it reflects Port Townsend.”

The two people who were most responsible for acquiring the art were Robin Ornelas, a close friend of Stopps, and writer Jan Halliday.

Halliday said the acquisition of the art was a two-year process.

“Long-lasting public art, such as this bronze sculpture of courting guillemots, her favorite seabird, is a way to commemorate her efforts,” Halliday said,

“It honors the seabirds who enrich our lives by their very existence and to inspire others in the community about the world we inhabit here.”

The sculpture will be mounted on a basalt column.

Halliday said tentative plans are to install it in front of the Northwest Maritime Center’s ochre-yellow exterior, where it will be most visible.

While there is no schedule for the installation, Rubin said he’d like for the sculpture to be in place in time for the Wooden Boat Festival, scheduled Sept. 5-7.

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Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: March 05. 2014 6:52PM
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