Wander the streets of Wenatchee, and you’re likely to meet up with a howling coyote, a wise old turtle, dancing rabbits or lounging bears.
Art on the Avenues places sculptures and other art pieces on public display for viewing, touching and admiring.
Some 74 are on display, including several on loan from the artists.
Many of the sculptures are clustered in the downtown area, though some can also be found along parts of the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail, at East Wenatchee City Hall, Pangborn Memorial Airport and both of the city’s hospitals.
A new sculpture garden, complete with a small labyrinth path, hosts artwork at the east end of the Riverwalk Crossing pedestrian bridge.
Artists from across the country loan pieces to the organization for public display in Wenatchee. Most are cast in bronze or carved from stone. New pieces are for sale each year.
After a year on display, Art on the Avenues buys at least one piece for permanent display and encourages the sale of the others. Other community organizations may also buy the art. Unsold pieces go back to the artists and new art replaces them.
A new batch of artwork will be unveiled in May. A brochure of this year’s pieces will be available at the Wenatchee Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau, 5 S. Wenatchee Ave., Suite 100; the Wenatchee Downtown Association, 103 Palouse St., Suite 35; and other locations around town.
When Art on the Avenues began in 1995, the program was the first of its kind in Washington.
That first year, the organization held a People’s Choice competition and bought Richard Beyer’s “Coyote Reading a Candy Wrapper,” which sits in front of the Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center. Last November the group installed Kevin Pettelle’s bronzework “Ped,” a giant representation of a foot, at the riverfront sculpture garden.
In all, 46 art pieces are on permanent display in the community as a result of the program, with many others rotating in and out of the community each year, said Art on the Avenues board president Bryan Maroney. The pieces present a diversity of ideas, from the realistic to the more abstract.
The group hasn’t yet finalized its purchase for the permanent collection this year.
Check the project’s Web site at artontheavenues.org.