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Tree frog art installation goes up outside Powell River Public Library

Rotary Club commissions metal sculpture
Powell River Public Library
GIANT LEAP: Surveying the installation of the tree frog metal sculpture outside of Powell River Public Library are [from left] chief librarian Rebecca Burbank; the installation’s designer, creator and sculptor Heather Wall; and Rotary Club of Powell River projects chair Jill Ehgoetz. The tree frog was commissioned by the Rotary Club to add local art to the library. Paul Galinski photo

Powell River Public Library has taken a leap into a new art installation.

A metal sculpture representing a Pacific tree frog was installed on the southeast corner of the library, adjacent to Alberni Street, after having been commissioned by the Rotary Club of Powell River.

Rotary projects chair Jill Ehgoetz said the sculpture came about because the club wanted to do a new fundraising event and decided on an art auction. The club realized it needed a focus to raise the money and the library was just in the process of moving to its current site, so the club decided to come up with a project that involved art in the new library.

“We had the art auction and we raised a good deal of money for art in the library,” said Ehgoetz. “The committee decided it would commission a piece of art and we chose Heather Wall because her art was outstanding and because she had been very generous in contributing art to the club’s art auctions. Knowing how much money the club had and knowing how much money the club could get from the Rotary Foundation in matching grants, the project was established.”

The club consulted with the library regarding what kind of art it would like. Various options were explored, but it boiled down to a leaping Pacific tree frog that is indigenous to the area. Wall developed the concept and it was presented to the library board. Ehgoetz said the board was thrilled with the concept, so Wall set about bringing the design to reality.

Wall, the tree frog’s designer, creator and sculptor, said in designing the sculpture she researched frogs and found a series of leaping frog photos. She determined the leaping motion would give the static sculpture a greater appearance of motion.

“It’s a little more dynamic than something that is just sitting,” she said. “I wanted him to have a little bit of motion.

When she had the concept, she started drawing the dimensions out from there, getting her proportions right. Wall said she purposely made the frog’s feet and eyeballs a little bigger than scale, giving a sense of presence that’s stronger as a result. The emphasis was giving the frog more character.

The build, including the design, took about two months, full time. Wall was inspired while creating the tree frog and sometimes spent 10-hour days working on it. She began with working on a leg and when it started coming together, realized her creation would be “so cool.”

“It came to life just doing the toes, the webs and part of the foot,” she said. “You could just see it. Building the frog was like reading a good book; sometimes you just can’t put it down.”

Wall said the sculpture is in a highly visible spot and she is excited about the placement of her art. Even while driving by, detailing on the tree frog can be seen. In the library, the sculpture is highly visible.

Seeing Wall’s frog through the windows in the children’s area, chief librarian Rebecca Burbank said she is thankful for the playful atmosphere it brings to the space.

“With the native plants garden and the mural by Meghan Hildebrand and Luke Ramsey on the western wall, this piece is helping to build a space surrounding the library that inspires people to think, enjoy and play,” she added.

Burbank said she is thankful for the generosity of the Rotary Club.

“It is wonderful to have the leaping Pacific tree frog installed in its new home beside the library,” she said.