Fall 2012

Armstrong1by Frances Chapin, Cultural Services Manager

The City of Edmonds public art collection includes over 25 major pieces that are sited outside and numerous smaller artworks exhibited inside public buildings. The collection is funded primarily through the percent for art ordinance, but from time to time the City receives private donations of funding and sometimes of artwork from organizations or individuals. One early example of this is the “Space Capsule” monument designed by Howard Duell, a civic collaboration dedicated on July 4, 1976 to commemorate the Bicentennial. The project was funded by the community including donations from numerous Edmonds High School students.

The idea of honoring Neil Armstrong for a Bicentennial project was proposed by Dennis Clark and other youth who felt that the moon landing was the most important accomplishment in America’s history and a significant moment that brought people together. They contacted Howard Duell to work with them to design and build the monolith. The 11 foot high sculpture was constructed out of reinforced concrete and weighs over 3,000 pounds and was originally sited at the entrance to the old City Hall plaza at 250 5th Avenue North. The detailed bronze inlay depicts Neil Armstrong and the American flag on the moon on one side, and Apollo 11 on the other side. When the old City Hall site was redeveloped for the current Public Safety Complex the monument was removed and stored until it could be relocated on the new site at the north end of the Police Station facing the parking lot.

Howard Duell was an award winning northwest sculptor and long-time Edmonds resident. Howard was an early member of Northwest Designer Craftsmen, founded in 1954. One of the first instructors hired by Edmonds Community College when it was established, Howard taught in the Art Department there for many years. He also volunteered doing both installations and jurying shows for the Arts Festival in its early years. In 1973 Howard worked with Ed Ballew to fabricate the original copper fountain in the center of town. After it was destroyed by a car he served on a committee to determine what should happen to the badly damaged piece and his vote was for recycling the copper into a new artwork. Five years later the same copper was recycled into a new artwork on the south side of City Hall. In 2006 Duell donated another sculpture to the City, the bronze fish called “Of Sea and Life” which start at the front door of City Hall and lead up the stairwell. See the Public Art Walking Tour for the location of the “Space Capsule” as well as other sculptures in the City collection.   http://www.edmondswa.gov/visiting/walking-tours.html

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