Artwork mixes form, function

Tracy Dye of DND Fabricating bends pipe as he joins fellow artists at Centennial Park to complete the steel structure Wednesday. The structure is seen in the background. - Brad Camp/Staff photo
Tracy Dye of DND Fabricating bends pipe as he joins fellow artists at Centennial Park to complete the steel structure Wednesday. The structure is seen in the background.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff photo

POULSBO — Laurie Larson and Wendy Armstrong each heard the same phrase growing up: Form follows function.

Both artists are the children of architects, and the mantra is one that’s stuck with them. Now, while collaborating for the first time, they’ve put the wise words to use. Today the two are joining the city of Poulsbo in unveiling the Viking City’s newest piece of public art, one that doubles as a park entrance and place to sit.

“They’re abstract trees,” described Larson of the overhead steel. She and Armstrong designed the piece and installed it this week with the help of Puyallup’s DND Fabricating. The three separate components appear like the frayed ends of a silvery rope, tall and elegantly organic.

“It’s growth and life and spirit. Very uplifting,” she said.

The reveal comes as a part of Poulsbo’s Park Day, a full-fledged celebration of the city’s green spaces highlighting the newly spruced Centennial Park at the corner of Iverson Street and Seventh Avenue, where Larson’s and Armstrong’s art sits. The event is also ringing in the official opening of volunteer-developed Poulsbo’s Fish Park, and is marking the second to last centennial event of Little Norway’s 100th year.

“As soon as we knew (Centennial Park) was going to be a park we knew it was going to be the most special of all,” said Poulsbo City Council Member Connie Lord, adding of the artwork, “this is meant to celebrate the trees, the variety of natural vegetation that we get to appreciate.”

Armstrong and Larson said their design attempted to infuse the space’s natural environment with an entrance area employees, walkers and shoppers can come through and underneath.

“The thought process was to bring that nature setting out to the pedestrians,” Larson said. A part of the Larson Casteele team based in Kingston, Larson helped to design the interior set-up of the park as well. The bases of the three trees at its entrance now double as benches.

Lord was a part of the committee that chose Larson’s and Armstrong’s design. They only collected submissions from area artists to feature local talent.

“It was just an amazing interpretation of the whole spirit of this park,” Lord said. “With all the arches and intertwined branches it’s like they’re blowing in the wind.”

Armstrong added the high branches do appear in motion, as if dancing.

“That they’re all sort of connected makes it like they’re dancing together too,” she said.

She added not all may like the piece — “not everyone would want the same painting in their house,” she explained — but the notion behind it is one of creating a welcoming and appealing entrance to an urban oasis.

It’s something Lord said won’t seem like any typical monument, but instead will serve as a landmark.

To view Centennial Park’s new addition, head to the unveiling today at 10 a.m. For more information on the development of Centennial Park, call Parks and Recreation at (360) 779-9898.

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