'Alan's Odd Duck' unveiled in Acacia Park


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Bill: 'There's something glowing and bright in everyone.' - EDIE ADELSTEIN
  • Edie Adelstein
  • Bill: 'There's something glowing and bright in everyone.'
This afternoon, in front of small crowd that included arts leaders, high school students and friends, the "Alan's Odd Duck" sculpture was unveiled in Acacia Park.

Taking the place of the "Cubical Cactus" next to the Uncle Wilber Fountain, the duck stands about eight feet tall, with a charming pot belly (if birds have those), a sweet smile and gently goofy eyes.

As explained in a previous post, "Alan's Odd Duck" was built out of recognition for "the lives of the many persons taken too soon as children or young adults" and to act as a reminder for anyone who feels weird and unaccepted that their unique gifts matter.

The duck comes from a painting made by a boy named Alan, who painted it as a 6-year-old at the Bemis School of Art. Twelve years ago today, Alan was struck by a driver along Academy Boulevard while crossing the street.

His father Bill spoke at the ceremony, relating how creative Alan was, and how he struggled with approval growing up. An alternative high school turned out to be a healthy environment for him, Bill said, "and thank God for that." Alan was well on his way by the time he graduated.

Fittingly, students from Community Prep School worked with Steve Wood of Concrete Couch to build the piece, which required a steel armature, 150 feet of tubing wound around it to create the shape, and plenty of concrete, clay and mortar to hold it all together.

The exterior, per many of Concrete Couch's projects, is a mosaic with little surprises all over: faces, hearts, animals, Jack Skellington, musical instruments. Many were made by the students, but Wood used lots of recycled tiles, some left over from the Uncle Wilber Fountain. One, a face up on the duck's neck, was made by a student who passed away, and Wood waited 10 years to find the right place for her tile.

The duck isn't totally finished yet. An accident in the kiln shattered the tail piece, and the base still needs decoration. Don Goede of the Smokebrush Foundation says there will be another unveiling event when it's completely finished, which will be soon, but they wanted to get it installed today no matter what, given the anniversary.

Goede's also working on a short documentary about the project. Watch for progress on that (and learn more about the genesis of the work) on the group's Facebook page.

Details from the sculpture, made by CPS students. - EDIE ADELSTEIN
  • Edie Adelstein
  • Details from the sculpture, made by CPS students.
The bill, like the tail, is made of clay. - EDIE ADELSTEIN
  • Edie Adelstein
  • The bill, like the tail, is made of clay.
  • Edie Adelstein


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