Merriam City Council on May 14 approved its latest public art project “Hmmm...” by Boulder, Colorado artist Joshua Wiener. It features a stone caterpillar observing an iron butterfly placed atop a stone cairn, or a stack of rocks.
According to Wiener, the piece is a playful exploration of place-making and identity. The caterpillar is mistaking the cairn as another caterpillar and then seeing its future as a butterfly. The cairn provides a nod to Merriam’s history of settling this area. The caterpillar and butterfly represent the transformation that’s happened over time.
The project was selected by the resident-led Merriam Public Art Committee after they conducted a national call for artists last summer. The sculpture will be located on Merriam Drive near Waterfall Park.
“Merriam’s public art program began as a way to enhance public spaces and create connections throughout the community. The public art committee has tried to select pieces that appeal to a variety of tastes, and they look forward to this whimsical addition to the City’s collection,” Meredith Hauck, assistant city administrator and the staff liaison to the public art committee, said.
The total project budget is $110,000 and installation is scheduled to occur in spring 2019.
This the third project of a five-year public art initiative. The sites for the final two projects were also proposed by the committee during the City Council meeting: art project #4 would be placed near the entrance to Merriam City Hall and art project #5 would be done in coordination with the construction of Merriam’s new community center.