Sunday, September 23, 2012

Connell's wildlife

Connell's whimsical sidewalk art
Connell, Washington, is a small town about 35 miles north of Pasco on Highway 395, which used to run through the town but now bypasses it.

I lived there for eight years in the 1980s when I published the town's weekly newspaper, the Franklin County Graphic. I make frequent trips to the town, which has doubled in size since a prison was built there, to see friends.

Wildlife has changed since I lived there. I remember one Saturday night the most exciting thing happening was that a snake crossed the town's main street, stopping traffic, and crawled up into the wheel hub of my car.

Connell's Columbia Avenue boasts a different type of wildlife now. In 2010, the town installed six bronze scupltures of various wildlife seated at concrete picnic tables, with room for people passers-by to join them.

The bronze and cast concrete sculptures were created by Ton Otterness in a project sponsored by the City of Connell and the Washington Arts Commission. The series is called, appropriately, Wild Life.

The whimsical characters include animals and veterans playing cards in front of the American Legion; farm families meeting with a banker to get a loan for a manure spreader, and a coyote ordering a mouse in the mail in front of the post office.

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