A new public sculpture is nearly completed for downtown Petersburg. Artist Eric Larson is putting the finishing touches on a bronze, aluminum and concrete piece that will be installed at the Buschmann Park next to the municipal building on main street.
The sculpture is called “Everything starts with a dream” and it’s the third public work in Petersburg done by artist Eric Larson. “The fishing boy is bronze cast,” Larson explained. “The fish element is welded aluminum and then the rock and the pedestal are concrete.”

This is Larson’s first foray into metal sculpture and bronze in particular. He also produced Bruno the Bear on main street by Viking Travel, along with the head and tail on the Viking ship Vahalla. Larson said he’s been interested in casting Bruno in bronze as well, to make the bear and his frequently stolen fish a little more durable.

“So I’m looking,” Larson said. “We were in Montana, we’re from Montana. And I know a sculpture down there Eric Thorsen in Bigfork. I’ve always been impressed with his bears. So I went and talked to him and he said there’s a foundry in Kalispell Montana that does some of his casting. So I went and talked to them. And one of the co-founders of the foundry lived in Petersburg as a little boy and has got a history here. And so I thought that’s too much coincidence. So that was the foundry that was it.”

Photo courtesy of Eric Larson

Photo courtesy of Eric Larson

That foundry ended up casting this sculpture in bronze after Larson shipped a full size clay version of the work down to Montana.

Larson first proposed this work in back 2010 to commemorate the city of Petersburg’s centennial. And it’s been an on again off again work since then, mainly to secure enough funding to pay for foundry to cast his sculpture. Arts council members Cindi Lagoudakis and Michelle Pfundt championed the project and helped raise money and secure grants for the work.

Photo courtesy of Eric Larson

Photo courtesy of Eric Larson

Now the sculpture is nearly complete and it shows a boy sitting on a rock holding a fishing rod, surrounded by a swirl of fish. The work will have a shower of water raining down as a backdrop and that’s what Larson is working on in his garage. “Yeah Im right now trying to tweak the water to do what I hope it will do,” he explained.

A pan at the base will be covered in river rock and a pump will keep the water raining down from the behind the boy but Larson is working to get the water feature just right. It will also have lights once it’s finished. Larson sayid local youth Gunnar Payne was the model for the fishing boy.

The work will eventually be installed in a small new extension of the Buschmann Park. There’s already the start of a foundation built on the corner of the municipal building parking lot. That’s where current Arts Council president Mark Kubo is surveying the progress. “The arts council has been doing a lot of performance type events but our mandate is also, our mission is also to do visual arts,” Kubo said. “And this sculpture certainly fits that bill. And it’s in a nice place where people coming from the ferry terminal or the cruise dock can see it.”

Other public sculptures in Petersburg are the Bojer Wikan fisherman’s memorial and the Fiske sculpture at the museum. Kubo thinks Larson’s work will be a good portrayal of the community. “Well public art in general encodes a community’s history, its culture, its values,” he said. “And I think this sculpture will reflect that well. It’s a young boy who’s just dreaming about what he can be and I think it represents what this community could be. What can this community be if we just dream?”

The bulk of the funding for the project came from Petersburg’s transient room tax revenue. The budget for the project is 28-thousand dollars for the sculpture along with construction of the foundation. A date for the installation has not been set.