Renowned artist Sherry Salari-Sander is used to her sculptures filling the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyo. Now she’ll be seeing one of her bronze creations whenever she drives through her hometown of Kalispell.
Six years after the City of Kalispell commissioned the well-known local sculptor to create an inspirational piece of public art, the result is now on full display.
The sculpture of a pair of life-sized whitetail in mid-stride was unveiled at the corner of Main and Idaho streets at a ceremony on Aug. 9. Salari-Sander and city officials, including City Manager Doug Russell and Parks and Recreation Director Mike Baker, appeared at the event along with more than 40 spectators.
“I’m extremely grateful,” she said, thanking all the supporting and helpers who made the statute possible, along with the city.
In 2007, the city council voted to contract a piece of public art from Salari-Sander for the cost of $35,000.
The 72-year-old artist told onlookers on Friday that her inspiration for the artwork came during a walk in the forest years ago when she and her husband saw a pair of deer dash through an idyllic section of cottonwoods. She thought a statue depicting the wildlife in their natural element would convey her appreciation for living in the outdoor-rich Flathead Valley.
Salari-Sander, based out of a local studio, has made a name for herself by drawing inspiration from natural vistas, including Glacier National Park, and native wildlife, like bighorn sheep, bull elk and wolves. Her artwork, titled Foxes on the Bayou, is on permanent display in the outside foyer of the National Museum of Wildlife Art.
Her statute of two whitetail deer sat in storage for while the city settled another public art contract, involving several grizzly bear statutes by another artist.
Once the latter situation was resolved, the city council decided to finish what it started, and place Salari-Sander’s two deer on display.
“When people come here and they haven’t seen the environment yet, this (statue) gives them an example of that environment,” she said.
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