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photography by
Bill Grant   860.536.2126
Downtown Westerly, Rhode Island
Municipal Sculpture for the town of Westerly, Rhode Island 1995-1998

Controversy was not the primary intention of artist Kovel when he conceived a piece of public art for the central intersection of a small seacoast New England town.

"Aspirations" was meant to carry a message to the community about the health of local natural resources about being responsible stewards of the environment about life in the ocean and on land. "Creating a life with meaning is everything. Every individual can make a meaningful change happen around them if they feel empowered to do so," says Kovel.

Public comments included: "In my view it's a stack of fly swatters without handles." Kovel's reply: "Bingo! That is perfect. I could see it too. She used her own creativity to imagine something from my work." Of, "First of all, what is it? It looks like a giant teepee." Another said, "It did stimulate conversation because it took about a month for us to figure out what it was supposed to be."

"Any good art is going to provoke," Kovel says. "Good art has an edge. It broadens the visual language. It forces a new vocabulary into our lives. Good art is not decoration."

Kovel, once a hook and line tuna fisherman, witnessed the species declining over 10 to 15 years and was utterly distraught by the quickly vanishing fish. Although open to viewer's interpretation, "Aspirations" was meant to capture some of this sentiment. While its gray side feels like the scratchy skin of a shark, its blue section resembles a breaching barnacle-ridden humpback whale.

Kovel believes that public art and public sculpture say the best of what we are as a people.

 see a photo diary of the istallation process

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