Wednesday, May 18, 2011

New sculptures to be installed in Ketchum

City Council accepts Rod Kagan memorial gift

Express Staff Writer

A local artist's work will live on in public view, following the Ketchum City Council's acceptance of a sculpture series donation.

Sculptor Rod Kagan, who passed away in December, had lived and created art in Ketchum since 1973. As a way to give back to the community he loved, his brother, Tim Kagan, and his girlfriend, Julie Firestone, offered to give the city his sculpture series called "Idaho Columns."

Claudia McCain, chair of the Ketchum Arts Commission, and Jen Smith, director of the Ketchum Parks & Recreation department, presented details to the City Council on Monday.

Kagan created the sculptures using discarded metal from Idaho mines and scrap yards. It incorporates wheels, pulleys, cables and other objects.

The bronze totems, up to six in number, will reach between 18 and 25 feet.

"Totems are a format he really enjoyed," McCain told the Mountain Express.

Representatives of Kagan and Arts Commission members agreed the columns would be a good choice for a donation.

"They are indicative of our mining heritage, and mining is such a big part of Idaho and Ketchum's heritage," McCain said.

Gimlet resident Benjamin Castellano-Wood contacted the city last year to gauge interest in an installation of Kagan's work, in honor of his artistic contributions to the city. The city agreed to consider accepting a gift of art. After a tour of potential locations, the north lawn of the YMCA, along Saddle Road, was selected.

Castellano-Wood is now involved in fundraising. The cost is estimated to run between $10,000 to $27,000. Much of the expense is due to transportation and installation.

In-kind contributions are being provided by contractor Adam Elias, engineer Matt Morell and others.

The council unanimously agreed to accept the memorial gift.

"I think it's a fabulous idea," Councilman Larry Helzel said.

A dedication is tentatively scheduled for July 2.

"It's such a loss that we don't have him," McCain said. "But I feel honored that the family will allow us to have something of his."

Rebecca Meany:

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