Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cameron Park v2.0

Stickwork Or Metalwork?

There's been some great discussion surrounding the $25,000 NEA grant being used for a Patrick Dougherty stickwork installation in Cameron Park. Unfortunately, most commenters seem to agree that it's a big waste of money to pay for essentially a big brush pile. That may only last ~5 years, anyways...

Sadly, I have to concur. This does not seem to be a wise choice.

Why not spend the money on a more permanent and aesthetic artwork, instead?

Like perhaps an interactive "sonic sculpture" by Richard Serra? Not only is this visually aesthetic, but also sonically-pleasing as well. The interior of the structure forms a highly-responsive, acoustic echo chamber that vastly amplifies even the slightest foot stomps or banging on its walls. As such, it's a fun, multi-sensory experience, for all those who have visited it!
Anyone visiting Fort Worth, TX must see the Museum of Modern Art completed in December, 2002. The standing sculpture by Richard Serra, "Vortex" itself is worth the trip.

Made of 2" steel slabs 10' wide and 67' tall, twisted, curved, and assembled with a 10' opening on top, the total weight is 230 tons. It's a sculpture that can be interacted with, and when you walk inside it becomes apparant that acoustically it is a giant bell, and you are the clapper. Any sound, no matter how slight is immediately reverberated. Speech becomes almost impossible to understand because of the immediate echo. I repeatedly kicked the wall inside and produced a loud, sustained, and very deep rumble. A young man was sitting on the floor inside beating on the concrete and his shoes with interesting effects. It's one of the most impressive sculptures I've ever seen.
This would be a long-lasting, permanent landmark & tourist draw. Not to mention a family-friendly installation that would be regularly enjoyed by all of us locals as well! Or imagine a whole series of "tuned" sculptures that people could play funky, otherworldly sounds on!

Waco Metalworks

Another idea that would complement a giant metal sculpture is a whole scattered collection of bronze/brass sculptures.

This would be similar to all the funky cow sculptures spread throughout Austin (and other cities).

But for Cameron Park, we could adopt several, interlacing themes...

The primary overarching theme would be an "Enchanted Forest." This would evoke a magical, mystical, whimsical wonderland to capture the imagination of children...and adults' inner children as well!

Sort of a mystical "Lord Of The Rings" meets a whimsical "Alice In Wonderland" meets a prehistoric "Jurassic Park."

Imagine Cameron Park filled with swing sets, swinging benches, gazebos, fountains, reflecting pools, water spouts, sacred geometry, life-size bronze dinosaurs, a unicorn, Pegasus, trio of angels, winged gargoyles, elves, gnomes, dwarves, trolls, mermaids, fairies, chimera, qilin, fudogs, giant butterflies, toadstools, giant squirrels, giant foxes, buffaloes, sabertooths, a baby mammoth, giant armadillos, giant turtles, frogs, dolphins, etc.

How about just the top of King Kong's head poking up through the ground similar to Seattle's famous Fremont Troll?

Imagine pictures of kids sitting atop these eye-catching sculptures in Waco tourist brochures...

And now, imagine if Waco actually had its own foundry ("Waco Metalworks") to produce these works locally? Not only would that add many more industrial/artisan jobs to the area with the city itself as built-in clientele, but placing these sculptures around the park would also serve as great advertising to any visitors. They could have gift shop where they stamp out souvenir Waco coins and more...for additional PR & profits.

So, you could really kill 3 birds with 1 perpetual feedback loop here!!! We could help give Waco a unique, respectable identity that would support both local employment and stimulate tourism. So, why not replace "Wacko" with "Whimsical" - and create new jobs and tourism at the same time???


  1. Love the idea of the sculptures spread throughout the park.

  2. New book chronicles 100-year history of Waco's Cameron Park

    When Cameron Park opened a century ago, it was a hot spot for picnics and brass band concerts. To a later generation, it was the place to show off car stereos and chrome.

    Today, crowds come for nature hikes, zoo animals, mountain-biking, disc golf and barbecues.

    Though its use has changed in its 100 years, the 450-acre Cameron Park always has been viewed as the soul of Waco and its history reflects the city’s history.

  3. hey good idea about getting a richard serra sculpture instead of patrick dougherty, or wait..... maybe the city didn't go with a large permanent sculpture because YOU CAN'T GET ONE OF THOSE FOR 25,000 DOLLARS. Serra works are hundreds of thousands of dollars. Not only is Dougherty a great artist, but he also tries to make his works as affordable as possible so that people like us can put them in our parks.

  4. Legends of love, death and ghosts part of Cameron Park's lore

    Cameron Park has developed its own lore, a stable of tales ranging from grieving ghosts to the death pact of star-crossed lovers.

    With its acres of tangled trees, twisting paths and sheer, high cliffs, is it any wonder that the park is the setting to a colorful yarn or two?

    Lovers Leap

    Lindsey Hollow

    Witch’s Castle

    Motorcycle pits

    Buried treasure?