BY BENJAMIN J. GOHS, NEWS EDITOR
Main Street officials hope to immortalize the area’s timber era history with a $50,000 artwork in bronze.
The Boyne City Main Street Program Design Committee wants to erect the life-size sculptured of a logger on the edge of the Boyne River.
“Our design committee is looking into a project called ‘The Last River Draw,’” Boyne City Main Street Program Manager Lori Meeder told Boyne City Commissioners at the commission’s Tuesday Sept. 22 meeting.
The sculpture would depict the logger pulling a log out of the river with a pike pole.
“It’s quite—I think—a wonderful representation and depiction of our lumber heritage and also it embraces our commitment to art in public places and kind of fits in nicely with our ‘Walkabout Sculpture Tour’ that we have in place right now.”
If eventually funded, the sculpture would be created by local artist Martha Sulfridge.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) is encouraging Boyne City to apply for a matching grant through “Patronicity,” a program developed by the MEDC and the Michigan Municipal League as an online “crowdfunding” program. Crowdfunding is the practice of sharing the details of a proposed project or desired goal and then asking the online community to donate money toward it.
“The point of the program through the MEDC is to revitalize public spaces within the community,” Meeder said. “This is a matching grant. If we are successful, they will help us with producing a video of the project. And, if we can raise local funds of about $25,000, they will match $25,000.”
Meeder said some local support already exists for the project. She said the Charlevoix County Community Foundation encouraged her to apply for a grant through them.
Boyne City Manager Michael Cain said he is very impressed with the artwork which has been presented regarding the project.
“We’ve had a lot of discussions with regards to this crowdfunding possibilities and what programs would be most applicable to it,” said Cain, who added that other projects like the Veterans Park pavilion did not qualify for such a grant at this time, so this proposed project would not be competing with other projects.
“I’m totally in favor of having bronze sculptures throughout our downtown area,” said Boyne City Commissioner Laura Sansom. “It’s something that we’ve been lacking for quite a long time, and … it’s nice that it’s a local artist that we’d be helping to promote.”
Boyne City Commissioner Derek Gaylord supported the measure, calling it “apropos” to Boyne City.
Boyne City Commissioner Tom Neidhamer asked who would own the sculpture and whether it would remain in the water in the winter.
Meeder said the city would own it, and it would remain in place year-round.
According to Meeder, the project would entail a figure being created from clay. Then, rubber molds would be made from the clay statue. The molds would then be filled with wax and have a special finish on them. The figures would then be dipped into ceramic to create a shell. The wax would be then be eliminated inside and the cavity would be filled with bronze.
Then, the ceramic must be removed with a jackhammer and sandblaster.
Bronze sections must then be welded together before the seams are treated and then chemicals are added to give the sculpture just the right coloration.
A motion to apply for a $1,500 grant from the Charlevoix County Community Foundation was unanimously approved.