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Large wall sculpture still seeking a new home in Red Deer

A huge wall sculpture that greeted thousands of students over the years at the front entry of Hunting Hills High School has yet to find a new home.

The City of Red Deer’s Art Commission recently decided not to accept the 24-foot by six-foot ceramic artwork by former Red Deer Polytechnic art instructor, the late Chuck Wissinger.

It was commissioned by the Red Deer Public School Division and mounted at the front entry of Hunting Hills High School since 1997. But it was recently removed due to renovations. A glass wall was installed where the artwork used to be, to improve visibility at the school’s entry.

As the public district could find no other cement block wall large enough for the artwork depicting the area’s history, the work was offered to the City of Red Deer or Red Deer Polytechnic.

But at their last meeting, members of the City of Red Deer’s Art Commission rejected installing the work in a municipal building.

It was deemed too large for the recommended space in the Servus Arena. And commission members were concerned about taking on the cost of repairs and maintenance of the ceramic work, which sustained minor damages during its removal from the school.

The Public Art Commission also considered the artwork “site specific” to the school, and recommended city administrators try to assist Red Deer Public Schools to find a more appropriate new home for the piece.

Meantime, Red Deer Polytechnic also has no plans to house Wissinger’s artwork — so Red Deer Public Schools is considering next steps.

Meanwhile, work is underway to fix Red Deer’s vandalized brick bunny sculpture and a glass mosaic bench. Artists Dawn Detarando and Brian McArthur hope to re-install the rabbit at the G.H. Dawe Centre when the weather warms — hopefully, in June.

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