Shipwreck Art, Annapolis-style

Annapolis, Maryland’s Art in Public Places Commission will soon be installing a $10,000 shipwreck-inspired sculpture at a busy downtown traffic circle. “Shoal,” the 18′ tall oak, poplar and cedar creation of artist Robert Donovan, will be displayed at Westgate Circle for two years. As Donovan recently told The Capital:

“I’ve always been attracted to the process of deterioration,” he said, “so I was thinking in terms of … how the ocean literally is the graveyard of ships and the kind of process that takes over time.”

Alderman Ross Arnett didn’t find Donovan’s theme particularly suitable, telling reporters: “I would think we’d want something at Westgate Circle that is evocative of Annapolis. The analogy of a wreck in our circle leaves you scratching your head.”

Fortunately cooler heads prevailed. Commission Tom Fridrich told reporters:

“Not everyone is going to like what’s there, necessarily. Frankly, that’s the point of the artwork … to have a conversation. And I think that’s what we’re going to end up with… Not insular communities of like-minded people, but rather the broader inclusive community of all,” he said. “That is what is exciting about public art, and why I am an ardent arts advocate.”

Discussion indeed–take a peek through the comments at the bottom of this article! In any case, I’m looking forward to seeing “Shoal” next time I’m in Annapolis. Just hope I don’t cause a car crash pondering abstract art while driving around a traffic circle.


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Filed under Announcement, Shipwreck culture, Shipwreck Kitsch

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