Edmond City Council spends $90,000 on new sculpture

A very large piece of art will soon be installed in Edmond. The city said it's paying $90,000 to get it here from Houston. Many are wondering where that money is coming from.

"We have an extensive public art program throughout the City of Edmond with over 150 pieces out on display," said Casey Moore, the public information officer for Edmond.

That number of pieces is about to get even bigger thanks to the $90,000 purchase by city council.

"We're purchasing it for $50,000 with an additional $40,000 put in for transportation and placing here in Edmond," Moore said.

The Native American statue by Dave McGary called "Touch the Clouds" currently sits outside the Houston Astrodome. It's 18 feet tall and weighs more than 20,000 pounds. Former Mayor Randal Shadid encouraged city council to make the purchase when he heard the astrodome was being demolished.

"I think the people have embraced public art here. We use it to sell Edmond. We use it to make our community set apart," said Shadid.

The $90,000 comes from city council's $100,000 contingency fund, money it can vote to use however it sees fit.

"It's the city council's decision and they feel it's in line with what we do as a community with our public art," said Moore.

The artwork is also quite a deal. The piece is currently worth $250,000 and could be worth half a million after the bronze is restored. It will stand between 30-35 feet tall when placed on a new base. "Touch the Clouds" will be the largest sculpture in the city.

"With it being such a large piece, there will also be people that will come into our town just to see that piece and potentially spend tax dollars here in our town as well," said Moore.

Shadid says the happy feeling people get when they see large beautiful artwork makes for a more contented community. That's why he believes money spent on art is always money well spent.

"It's true, you could put the $90,000 somewhere else. You could fill some potholes. Six months from now no one will know what happened to that $90,000. 60 years from now everyone will know where this $90,000 [went]," said Shadid.

Shadid is in the process of raising private funds to restore the sculpture.

Right now city council is looking into four different locations for the statue. They are King Plaza near the public works building, Hafer Park, Bickham Rudkin Park or the new Edmond 66 Park. The city is unsure when the installation will take place.