WENATCHEE — A familiar face is back at Wenatchee Riverfront Park.
“Oracle,” a giant tortoise sculpted from steel, was placed Tuesday along the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail.
The Chelan County PUD purchased “Oracle” and several other sculptures in the park recently. "Oracle" cost $18,000.
Sculptures in the park typically rotate about every two years. If they aren’t sold, they’re returned to their creator.
But ever since the tortoise left, Art of the Avenues founder Adele Wolford has heard clamor for its return.
“I have been inundated with people (asking) ‘Where is Oracle?’” Wolford said. Adding, “I had to get him back.”
“Oracle” didn’t sell and was returned to the home of its creator, Pateros artist Steve Love. In its place, Love put an abstract horse named “Resurrection” at the location near Fifth Street.
Love made “Resurrection” from plow harrows charred in the 2014 Carlton Complex Fire.
“I made it from farm machinery that wasn’t covered on our property after the Carlton fire burned through it,” Love said.
Now “Resurrection” will go back to Love’s home and “Oracle” is back in Wenatchee.
“So, he came home,” Wolford said. “And he’s not going to move from here now. It’s his permanent home.”
A crew used a forklift to swap the two art pieces Tuesday morning. Love and Wolford watched as workers lowered the heavy tortoise into place.
“It’s probably, in my estimation, one of the most perfect locations related to a sculpture that we have in the exhibit,” Wolford said. “It’s just so perfect. The kids are right here, they can be all over it; it’s so user-friendly. So, I just knew it had to come back.”
Wolford and Love exchanged a high-five after “Oracle” was set beside the trail and “Resurrection” was placed into the back of Love’s pickup.
“He was meant to be here, don’t you think?” Wolford said to Love.
“Yes,” Love replied.
Love spent three years off and on crafting the tortoise, finishing it five years ago. Wolford thinks Love’s work will be loved by passersby.
“I think now that the community is going to feel more ownership in this exhibit — both on the trail and all through the city — because these sculptures belong to us as a community,” Wolford said.