County mulls sculpture’s future - Bonner County Daily Bee: Local News

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County mulls sculpture’s future

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Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 10:00 am

SANDPOINT — It has survived controversy, complaints and at least one arson attempt, but the Tolerance sculpture at the Bonner County Courthouse is not enduring the elements too well.

“The legs are rotting off,” Commission Chairman Cornel Rasor said of the sculpture’s timbers.

Commissioners began deliberations Tuesday on what to do with the sculpture, but put off a decision until they had a chance to discuss the matter with those who donated the piece to the county 11 years ago.

The 10-foot-tall timber-and-steel structure was borne out of a controversy surrounding an Aryan Nations plan to march through town in 2001. The parade never happened, although the community still banded together to promote racial and social tolerance by staging an event called Celebrate Sandpoint.

The sculpture designed by artist David Kraisler as part of the Celebrate Sandpoint initiative.

The piece was first offered to the city of Sandpoint, but it passed on the offer because it lacked a public art policy at the time. There were concerns that acceptance of the sculpture would inspire other groups to donate outdoor art and demand equal consideration.

The county readily agreed to take the piece.

Assessor Jerry Clemons was a member of the county commission which agreed to give Tolerance a home on the courthouse lawn.

“I supported it then and still support it,” said Clemons.

But over the years, the county began receiving complaints that the sculpture appeared to depict a sex act. Others have defended it as an unconventional piece of modern art that defied easy explanation.

At one point, somebody tried to burn the sculpture down by spraying it with expanding foam insulation and setting it afire.

Charring is still evident on the sculpture’s timbers. And so is the wood decay.

Clemons and Rasor, in addition to fellow Commissioner Mike Nielsen, stressed that they strongly supported the sentiment behind Tolerance, but admitted they didn’t think much of the piece’s artistic merits.

Nielsen and Commissioner Lewie Rich said their constituents have expressed objections to the sculpture.

“There is no sympathy for the statue. They would like it to go away,” said Rich.

Further complicating the issue is ongoing expansion of the courthouse. The third phase of the project involves expanding the building onto the front lawn and possible parking lot expansion.

“The difficulty is (that) at some point, that statue is going to have to be moved,” said Rasor.

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  • Felix posted at 12:44 pm on Mon, Jan 16, 2012.

    Felix Posts: 18

    You brutes, beasts, and insensitive homophobic scalawags. You too leechie-coo.
    Felix the cat

  • Idahodad posted at 7:14 pm on Thu, Jan 12, 2012.

    Idahodad Posts: 48

    I like the 70's female hippie logger. in one of those tie die summer dresses.

  • Idahodad posted at 7:12 pm on Thu, Jan 12, 2012.

    Idahodad Posts: 48

    Perhaps the Sculpture contracted AIDS :O

  • leechstomper posted at 5:09 pm on Thu, Jan 12, 2012.

    leechstomper Posts: 1606

    I would be content to have a nice traditional brass statue of some significant figure of the region's past. I know - a logger! Out of consideration for tolerance, make it a 1970's hippie female logger cast in pink brass.

  • michaelc posted at 3:06 pm on Thu, Jan 12, 2012.

    michaelc Posts: 262

    If symptoms have lasted more than 24 hours, call a logger.

  • bigdan posted at 2:50 pm on Thu, Jan 12, 2012.

    bigdan Posts: 2867

    Leech, you're killing me LOL! In the absence of any stiff competition, I'd say we have a ceremonial lighting of the tolerance statue. Do we really need a statue of one guy buggering another guy to make us more tolerant? I feel tolerant for having tolerated this ignorance to begin with. So I have learned my lesson, try to stay out of prison LOL!

  • BikerBrian posted at 1:26 pm on Thu, Jan 12, 2012.

    BikerBrian Posts: 62

    Here's your chance Daily Bee..... this would make a great online opinion poll....[huh]

  • michaelc posted at 11:13 am on Thu, Jan 12, 2012.

    michaelc Posts: 262

    I hope they don't get rid of it and replace it with something even more tolerant. How about just plain green grass?

  • I Live in Cocolalla posted at 10:12 am on Thu, Jan 12, 2012.

    I Live in Cocolalla Posts: 5

    Cut it up and split it into firewood. Give it to the Bonner County Human Task force to raffle off as fire wood.. Probably close to half a cord or so there...

  • life is good posted at 9:47 pm on Wed, Jan 11, 2012.

    life is good Posts: 694

    Good Riddance!! Too bad we haven't had any leadership in the past 10 years or so that had the guts to get rid of that disgrace. We have proven we have tolerance, so just burn it - why not pile all the Christmas trees on it and have a good 'ol bonfire - like burning a witch at the stake --

  • LakeViewer posted at 4:25 pm on Wed, Jan 11, 2012.

    LakeViewer Posts: 936

    There's enough wood there for pitch fork kielbasa sausage and s'mores. I'll bring the pitch fork, sausage, diesel fuel, and lighter.

    Sounds like a great time .... sometime around Mardi Gras weekend would be perfect.

  • leechstomper posted at 3:29 pm on Wed, Jan 11, 2012.

    leechstomper Posts: 1606

    I was just trying to stiffen the support for the sagging wood and increase its longevity for the public's pleasure.

  • BBCBBCBBC posted at 2:57 pm on Wed, Jan 11, 2012.

    BBCBBCBBC Posts: 52

    OMG, Leechstomper, that was too funny.

    Hahahahaha This story made me think of that old song

    "Thank God and Greyhound she's gone"

    Can I light the match to get rid of the man sex "art"?

  • leechstomper posted at 2:39 pm on Wed, Jan 11, 2012.

    leechstomper Posts: 1606

    Perhaps the Arts council could commission the artist to include a couple of purple presto-log viagra bottles to help keep the statue "up" longer.

  • Aaron C posted at 1:27 pm on Wed, Jan 11, 2012.

    Aaron C Posts: 340

    Dan you can chuckle while we roast Smores over it...........I'll bring the marshmellows......

  • bigdan posted at 12:55 pm on Wed, Jan 11, 2012.

    bigdan Posts: 2867

    But if we take it down I won't be able to get a chuckle every time I come into town. LOL!

  • BikerBrian posted at 12:24 pm on Wed, Jan 11, 2012.

    BikerBrian Posts: 62

    Tolerence is a wonderful concept.... however i think that ugly piece of junk should be burned in a funeral ceremony. The death of the old coarthouse, the birth of a new one... kind of like a phoenix.[smile]

  • NewDawn posted at 12:24 pm on Wed, Jan 11, 2012.

    NewDawn Posts: 936

    Even Mother Nature knows that this atrocity has to go!
    Whoever allowed for "it" to be "planted", should take it
    to his yard - his back yard, I hope!

    Piece of Art, indeed!!!!