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Crow With Fries

Peter Reiquam with sculpture diagram.

Have you ever noticed crows playing games in the air with their food, or cleverly dropping nuts from great heights to crack them open on the pavement below? Did you know that crows can even create and use tools to solve complex puzzles? Crows are known as one of the most intelligent species in the animal world. They can imitate other birds, cars, and even learn to speak if socialized with humans. Crows can recognize individual people and form a relationships with humans, pick a person out of a crowd, follow them, and remember them - for years!

In late 2017, the City of Auburn began the process of commissioning an artist to create an iconic public art piece for Les Gove Park to be sited on the newly renovated property of the park that extended to Auburn Way South. The site was identified in the 2015 Les Gove Master Plan as a potential location for something iconic to serve as a canvas to help announce the park to cars driving by on Auburn Way South. The site was formerly a Triple XXX Root Beer Drive-In and then Big Daddy’s Drive-In. The property was purchased by the City in 2014 using a 50% matching grant from King Conservation Futures.

Public art enhances meaning in our civic spaces and adds uniqueness to our communities. One of the goals for this public art commission was to create a unique and highly-recognizable piece of art for the newly reclaimed portion of the Les Gove Campus that has been transformed into a beautiful grassy entrance to one of Auburn's most beloved parks. The artwork should also catch the attention of thousands that drive along Auburn Way South. In a very competitive selection and interview process, applications were received from many accomplished Pacific Northwest public artists. The talented artist Peter Reiquam was selected by a committee and his proposed artwork was confirmed by the Auburn Arts Commission and Auburn City Council.

Artist Peter Reiquam has been successfully creating interactive, site specific public art for over 30 years. Each of his projects is a “unique response to the special character of a given site, inspired by its history, culture, architecture, and surrounding landscape.” Inspired here by the history of the site as well as the countless playful crows that frequent Les Gove Park, Reiquam designed a large-scale sculpture titled “Crow With Fries” that was installed in mid-May 2019 and dedicated on May 31, 2019. The sculpture is a visible landmark that encourages public interaction, with people sitting on the oversize package of sculptural french fries or posing for a selfie with this winged creature. The 12 feet tall and 18 feet long artwork was welded with precise aluminum panels and then powder coated, making this delightful sculpture incredibly durable and able to stand the test of time for the enjoyment of the Auburn community for many years to come.

In celebration of the new artwork, the City of Auburn also coordinated a community art exhibition in collaboration with local artist, curator, and crow-lover Greg Bartol. The Auburn Community & Event Center crow-themed art show, Celebration of the Crow, will be on display through July 9, 2019. Artists with work on display will include: Liz Ashley; Greg Bartol; Mary Ellen Bowers; Ricco DiStefano; Cynthia Gerdes; Mary Beth Hynes; Richard Jahn; Judy Lane; Judy Lee; Vikram Madan; Linda O'Neill; Leo Osborne; Sally Penley; Dinah Rau; Steven Ray; Wendy Ray; Catherine Thompson; Judy Salas; Judith Smith; Lydia Sutton; and Gretchen Van Dyke. 


    Peter Reiquam Explains How “Crow with Fries” Became an Icon for Les Gove Park in Auburn, Washington


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