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Winds and Cook Inlet tides make a mess of Point Woronzof art installation

  • Author: Mike Dunham
  • Updated: May 31, 2016
  • Published November 25, 2015

High winds and a 31-foot tide have demolished most of the "100Stone" installation set in place at Point Woronzof on Saturday, Nov. 21. Of the 74 statues originally anchored on rebar stakes along the beach, less than a dozen remained standing by 10 a.m. Wednesday morning.

The human forms modeled from body casts were scattered among the shore ice in prone positions. The gray concrete covering had been breached on most exposing large patches of white plaster.

The few that escaped damage were positioned high on the shoreline, but the windblown ice had managed to reach some of them. A two-figure piece of one man trying to help raise another, which had appeared particularly stout and well above tide line when it went up, was disassembled. The standing man lay flat eight feet from the rebar post that had originally held it. The torso of the man he was trying to raise rested uphill from him.

Nearby, the figures of a woman and child clutching each other remained untouched.

Even 11 statues erected at the top of the bluff, high above the water, were affected. Of the four closest to the Point Woronzof Park parking lot three had pitched forward, their rebar supports bent at 30 to 40 degree angles. One's first reaction was that they had been vandalized, but as this reporter and an Alaska Dispatch News photographer watched, the fourth, touched only by wind, slowly leaned over and joined its companions on the ground.

The soil and gravel around the stakes on the bluff felt wet and loose. The majority of statues on the beach had been completely removed from their posts and rods of rebar bent at similar near-right angles poked up though the ice that remained along the shore after the tide dropped. Almost all of the bodies, however, remained largely intact despite having been toppled and displaced.

Sarah Davies, the artist who envisioned the 100Stone Project and oversaw its installation said members of her volunteer team were assembling at the beach at noon to assess the damage and make a plan of action.

One of the first to arrive was Anthony Ladd, a member of Iron Workers Local 751. "This is bad," he said, examining how the rebar had bent.

Ladd said the immediate plan was to move the statues that could be salvaged to higher ground and return with more volunteers in coming days to reinstall as many as possible using a stronger post structure. The installation is due for dedication at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5.

At noon on Wednesday, the labor looked overwhelming. But Ladd sounded positive. "I'm telling Sarah that, no matter what, come Dec. 5 there will be statues standing here."