Sculptor Andries Breedt, an engineering consultant who lives in LaConner, was inspired by a deadly threat to the Pacific Northwest sea star population to create a stunning piece titled “The Leaking Vase.”
That sculpture, appropriately positioned at the “N” Avenue pocket park on the edge of a downtown Anacortes beach, was officially dedicated in a public ceremony on Friday, June 1.
Breedt donated the 8-foot, 2-inch sculpture to the City of Anacortes public art collection out of a desire to share his concern for the marine ecosystem with as many people as possible.
At the ceremony he introduced collaborator/colorist Nancy Gosen, and he shared about the passion behind the piece.
Breedt, a native of South Africa who moved to the U.S. in the mid-Nineties, noted that he is also a diver.
It was his diving hobby that made him aware in 2013 of the “wasting disease” ravaging the Northwest sea star.
“We have to do everything possible to stop this tragedy,” he said. “My hope is that there is someone right now who has discovered what the problem is with the terrible loss of our sea stars.”
Anacortes Arts Commission representative Laura Hamilton described Breedt’s donation as “a very generous gift, created as a permanent reminder” of the fragile nature of the Northwest ecosystem, and specifically the sea star.
Hamilton pointed out that “The Leaking Vase” was created entirely with recycled materials from client projects. Breedt shared that the name of the art piece was inspired during its creation, when he quipped that the vase-like base had hundreds of open spaces between welded disks. Its colors are “Peruvian-inspired.”
Among those at the dedication ceremony were Anacortes Mayor Laurie Gere and Parks and Recreation Director Gary Robinson. The brief ceremony also featured a reading by poet Jane Alynn and a performance by musician Paul Nyenhuis, who played a hand-carved, Native style flute.
Commemorative pins were distributed to those in attendance. The pins represented the work of Hamilton and How It Works representatives Dixie Shervington and Lisa Rhoades.
“We extend our thanks to this esteemed artist and his team,” said Gere. “This beautiful piece will contribute to our effort to keep the arts and protection of our environment in the forefront.”
“Once again this community has taken an opportunity to pool its resources and direct its passion toward a project that will speak today and for generations to come,” said How It Works owner Chris Terrell. “We are grateful for Mr. Breedt’s contribution to our rich public art collection.”
(Note: a QR code on the base of the sculpture links the viewer with the Anacortes Arts Commission website and details about the project.)