EDMOND — City council members agreed to spend up to $90,000 to buy and move an 18-foot bronze statue from outside the Houston Astrodome to Edmond.
The deal comes with the stipulation that the sculpture, “Touch the Clouds,” by artist Dave McGary must be in good shape.
His widow, Molly McGary told The Oklahoman Tuesday the sculpture is in bad shape and must be refurbished.
“They never took care of it,” Molly McGary said. “It will have to come back to the studio to be refurbished. It can't be moved there without being refurbished.”
David McGary died Oct. 11 of kidney cancer at the age of 55.
He had studios in Ruidoso, N.M., and Scottdale, Ariz. He was best known for his larger-than-life portrayals of American Indians in authentic indigenous clothing intricately replicated.
The McGarys donated the 20,000-pound sculpture of an Indian chief to the Astrodome in 1998.
The statue depicts a 19th-century Miniconjou chief who fought alongside Crazy Horse at the Battle of Little Big Horn.
City officials have not determined if the statue needs to be refurbished and have not allocated any money for repair.
Randel Shadid, a local art enthusiast who brought the deal to council members, said Tuesday after talking with Molly McGary that to refurbish the piece could be expensive.
“If it isn't acceptable, we won't do the deal,” Shadid said. “It was sad to hear this. I am still optimistic that we can do something.”
Shadid notified the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo on Monday that Edmond wanted to purchase the sculpture contingent on inspection of the artwork.
The sculpture cost $50,000 and the remaining cost would be to move it to Edmond.
“We have a recognized art program,” said Mayor Charles Lamb. “We really don't have a lot of grand pieces. This seemed like a wonderful opportunity if it checks out.”
Shadid called “Touch the Clouds” a marvelous piece by an international artist.
City leaders have been interested in adding larger pieces of artwork to Edmond's collection of public art. “Touch the Clouds” would be one of the largest sculptures if the city goes forward with the purchase.
Edmond has 148 pieces of art displayed downtown, along Boulevard and at businesses and municipal buildings throughout the city. Two other bronze statues have been purchased, but not installed.
One of the larger pieces is “Leaping in History,” a bronze statue of Kentucky Daisy, the newspaper reporter and political activist who staked one of the first claims in Edmond. It is in Festival Market Place.
The other large sculpture is of Shannon Miller, Edmond's renowned Olympic gold gymnast, by Shan Gray and located in Shannon Miller Park.
City leaders aren't sure where the sculpture would be placed if the purchase goes through. One suggestion was the grassy area behind the public works building in downtown Edmond.