Friday, September 15, 2017

Future of Appleton's "Metamorphosis" still uncertain


The Post-Crescent reports that the future of Richard C. Wolter's sculpture "Metamorphosis" -- which once stood in the center of Houdini Plaza in Appleton, Wisconsin -- "is about as certain as Houdini's return from the grave."

The sculpture is currently lying on its side outside the Appleton parks and recreation facility at Memorial Park.

The iconic sculpture anchored Houdini Plaza from 1985 to 2010, when it was removed because the base was deteriorating. Houdini Plaza underwent a major renovation in 2013. A Houdini bust was added to the plaza in 2015.

"There's been talk off and on about bringing it back out," said Chad Doran, Appleton's communications coordinator. "There's some people in the arts community who are really pushing to have it brought back out. I don't know that anything is imminent."

Alex Schultz, president of Sculpture Valley, a nonprofit arts advocacy group in the Fox Cities, said Appleton made a mistake by removing "Metamorphosis" from Houdini Plaza. He wishes the 2013 renovation of the plaza would have reserved a spot for the piece.

"Everybody recognized it as being part of the plaza," he said. "Having taken it out and not incorporated it into the redesign, I think, was just shortsighted."

Schultz recommends restoring the sculpture and mounting it in the center of the roundabout at the east end of the College Avenue bridge. He said the location was proposed to the city but wasn't met with much enthusiasm because of safety considerations.

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