As statuary goes, Seattle is a little shy. We sculpt salutes to Hammering Man, J.P. Patches and the Fremont Troll, which are cool except for the fact that they symbolize characters, as opposed to actual doers of deeds. The statue of V.I. Lenin exists purely as Fremont’s salute to its own contrarian kitsch.
We’re big on pop icons, like Ivar, Dave Niehaus and Jimi Hendrix, but Chief Seattle is among the few who could be called digniterial (a word that needed to be invented). And sadly, he lost.
Sports is normally a big source of civic statuary in many places, but it’s hard to rally around five games below .500, which was more or less the case here for most of a century. The University of Washington has a statue of Jim Owens, the football coach from 1957-74, but neglected to grasp the sensibilities of African American players who were discriminated against during his tenure. In town for the unveiling in 2003, Owens spent most of his time apologizing.
Now, of course, the Seahawks are champions of football, which gives them the keys to the cosmos. But besides the parade and never having to buy a drink in town again, what permanently commemorates this stupendousness?
A few fans, along with former Seahawks lineman Joe Tafoya, decided that Richard Sherman’s tipped pass in the final 30 seconds of the NFC Championship against the 49ers, done at the Clink, would be highest and best portal through which generations of Seahawks fans, as well as millions of seagulls and pigeons, will go to connect to the moment the Northwest sports world changed.
And for a minimum price of $12, the Twelves can help crowd-fund the project, which was introduced Monday at the website http://buildthetip.com/.
Microsoft staffers Joe Michaels and Chris Bauer, in the video above done cleverly by VMG Studio 520 of Bellevue, came up with the idea. They will launch the fund drive at 12:12 p.m. Monday. For 40 days until the Sept. 4 season opener, they will solicit money via an Indiegogo campaign to cover the $250,000 estimated cost of the project. Excess funds will go to charity.
Still to be determined is the exact look of the statue to be created by local artist Kevin Pettelle, perhaps best known for his sculpture of kid-TV hero J.P. Patches and confidante Gertrude. The statute will be about nine feet, including the base, making it, like Sherman, slightly larger than life.
Also not yet known is the location, other than the desire to be in the vicinity of the Clink. Although the Seahawks “support” the idea, Michaels said, they are not officially part of the project. Nor do the Seahawks have a formal say in the location. The state’s public facilities district is the agency in charge of matters of public art and its display.
The project, Michaels emphasized, is fan-driven and “about the moment. We’re not celebrating Richard specifically, but all that he and the play represented for the team, the fans, the season and Seattle sports history.”
If things seem a little fluid, it’s understandable. It’s not as if Seattle draws from a wealth of experience with the topic. Perhaps sports championships can be seen as the latest Seattle start-up.