Bronze sculpture will point the way to Anderson Park


A 4-year-old girl tugs at her busy mother's hand, pointing to the children's playground hidden in a nearby shady grove.

It is a moment frozen in bronze.

The scene is a life-size sculpture titled "Aurora and Diane" that will be unveiled today at Anderson Park in downtown Redmond.

"People don't know there's a play area here (at Anderson)," said Lisa Sheets, 37, the artist and a Woodinville resident. "The sculpture acts as a beacon. I think it will make people wonder and think for a moment."

"Aurora and Diane" is the latest example of Redmond's - and the Eastside's - interest in public art. The city's collection now has 70 pieces, everything from bronzed beavers to murals against racism.

Recently, Redmond approved spending about $55,000 to commission three works, including Sheets' sculpture, which cost about $18,000. Also, the city's municipal campus is sporting an outdoor sculpture display that will rotate through other Eastside cities starting next spring. And Redmond plans to release a brochure next month called "Art Treks," a self-guided tour of the city's public-art offerings, complete with photos, explanations and background.

Sheets, who has been sculpting and making prints for about 12 years, works out of a studio in Duvall. She created "Aurora and Diane" after the Redmond Arts Commission asked her for a design to fit into the city's parks.

She labored for two years on a full-size clay model, then cast it in bronze at a local foundry.

"I was trying to think up something that might draw attention to the park, or some curiosity," Sheets said. "The city wanted to increase the use and increase the interest in the park."

Anderson Park is in downtown Redmond at Northeast Redmond Way and Avondale Road Northeast, and yet many people drive by it without a second thought, said Melna Skillingstead, the city's arts administrator.

"There's a lot of traffic there, people waiting at the light," Skillingstead said. "While they're waiting around, maybe they'll notice. It's another opportunity for interaction, and that's the goal of public art."

Aurora, the daughter, and Diane, the mother, are the real names of Sheets' family friends, who modeled for the sculpture.

"It has a kind of nostalgic feeling to it," Sheets said of the final product, "to match the old log cabins" in the park.

The sculpture dedication begins at 4 p.m. today.

Last week, Seattle artist Ken Turner unveiled "Tip-Off," a bent-steel interpretation of basketball, at Redmond's Grass Lawn Park. "Challenge," a second piece by Turner, will be installed at Grass Lawn sometime in December.