HAYDEN — With joyful cheers and the snip of a red ribbon, citizens of Hayden welcomed the newest piece of public art to their community Friday evening.
More than 60 people gathered at the Hayden Library for the dedication ceremony of "Epiphany," a sculpture that represents a human head and the manifestations of the mind. It is made of steel and colorful pieces of Plexiglas. When lit beneath a darkened sky, it creates a vibrant stained-glass effect.
"I think John Ruskin said it best, 'Life without industry is guilt, and industry without art is brutality,'" Hayden Mayor Ron McIntire said to the crowd.
He said pieces of public art help build a sense of community pride and "add beauty to our everyday lives."
"Can you imagine a world without public art?" McIntire asked. "No Statue of Liberty, no Eiffel tower, no Vietnam Veterans Memorial, no Mount Rushmore, no murals or memorials or monuments or fountains? And what would the Fourth of July be without a fireworks display, or a parade without beautiful floats? These landmarks and special events enhance our experience of place and improve our quality of life."
"Epiphany" was chosen among more than 200 applicants and selected from a final five. Longtime Hayden resident Jim Cultra said he was pleased "Epiphany" made the final cut.
"I think it's very fitting for the overall community and the library and learning," he said. "I like the idea that it gets you to think beyond the body a little bit and think about the human spirit and the imagination that can come with this ... and the money we spend on it is just not for the artist, it's all back to all the local construction people that participated and stays right here in the community — from the materials and the electricians and the concrete and the steel suppliers. Everyone gets something back from it. Beyond the cost, this will go on for years and years for people to be inspired and enjoy the art that we see."
The artwork is located on the south side of the library, borders the Peak Health and Wellness Tennis Center and faces Government Way. "Epiphany" is a public art project led by the Hayden Arts Commission in collaboration with the city of Hayden, the Hayden Library, Hayden Urban Renewal Agency and Peak.
The ceremony included words from Hayden Arts Commission Chair Nancy Sue Wallace, Community Library Network Director John Hartung and Hayden Peak owner Gary Retter as well as the sculpture's creator — Hayden artist and North Idaho College art instructor Michael Horswill.
"For me, it's really the celebration of the imagination of the spirit, curiosity," Horswill said. "I think public art is important because at its best, it quiets the chaos, brings us to the present moment and reminds us what a beautiful, magical thing it is to be alive on this spinning Earth."
The Hayden Library is located at 8385 N. Government Way.