OGDEN — Work on a public art project that will serve as the centerpiece of the ongoing Ogden River restoration is almost complete.
The piece, dubbed the “Water Table,” was designed by Denver-area artist Andy Dufford and features, along with several mountain canyons, a stone-carved map of the Ogden and Weber Rivers flowing into the Great Salt Lake.
The completed work will include a water element for splashing, a solstice sculpture and a small gathering area.
The piece is inspired by the cycle of water from snowfall to runoff.
On Monday, Dufford and a small crew used a large crane to hoist massive boulders into place at the site and spent time carving the stone.
Ogden City Arts Coordinator Ginny Stout said the piece, at the intersection of Grant Avenue and the Ogden River between 18th and 19th streets, is meant to celebrate the river and encourage residents to help preserve its beauty.
“This is our chance to reclaim the Ogden River,” Stout said. “It has been in pretty sad shape before, but the city is bringing it back to where it will be an incredible asset to Ogden.”
Justin Anderson, Ogden city engineer and lead in the restoration project, says the piece ties in perfectly with the city’s ultimate vision for the river.
“This is just another element that will bring people down to the river,” he said. “We want our residents to take ownership of the river and enjoy it and help preserve it.”
Stout said the project is the result of more than a year of work.
In 2010, the OCAC put out a public call, soliciting artists to design a piece for the river.
The city received almost 150 responses from artists all across the United States, and even one from Hong Kong.
After narrowing down the list to five finalists and bringing them to Ogden to survey the site, Dufford was selected.
“After his presentation, we knew he was the one,” Stout said. “His artistic vision was inspiring.”
The city budgeted $300,000 for the piece, with $270,000 going to Dufford and $30,000 going into a fund that will be used to maintain the piece.
Funding came from the city’s One Percent for Art fund, in which one percent of money spent on city capital improvement projects is held in reserve for public art.
Stout said work on the project will likely be finished May 8.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at the site at 5:30 p.m. May 31.