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A miniature steel model by sculptor Ahmon Katz for the proposed installation of a large public sculpture in the town of MontagueAhmon Katz seeks support for a public sculpture for Montague

by Pan Wendt

This May Island sculptor Ahmon Katz was chosen to represent Kings County for the Confederation Centre’s onSITE Artists-in-Residence program. Like his counterparts in Prince and Queens County, Katz spent the month working in a highly public site, in this case the Down East Mall in Montague. Katz received money for materials, a salary, and working space as part of a program which brought the process of artmaking into the public sphere while supporting the work of local artists.

Katz’s response to this brief was to spend the month developing a piece of public sculpture for the town of Montague, fittingly through interaction with visitors to his site at the mall. The artist initially drew visitors into his darkened workspace by creating a light show that made use of old record players to project images on the walls. He then requested suggestions from residents for subject matter for a public work of sculpture, and began making clay models of those motifs that were mentioned most often, or which most intrigued him, including a giant lobster, a stage surrounded by musical instruments, a pair of dancers, an abstracted piece of driftwood and an angel. A steel model of an angel is proposed for a public sculpture for Montague by Ahmon Katz.

Katz has always been drawn to the notion of public sculpture, and he has completed many successful large-scale works in public places, including an award-winning snow sculpture, many bicycle-based pieces, and works employing welded steel, lathe, stucco and/or wood. That many Montague residents have been calling for beautification of the town in recent years added impetus to Katz's inclinations to think big, and public. As Heather Moore recently pointed out in a May 12 editorial for the Eastern Graphic, Montague needs “an aesthetically pleasing focal point.”

Katz, who hopes to complete his proposed sculpture this fall, has thought about several sites, including City Hall. Perhaps the most attractive site, and one which would truly make the work a town focal point, would be the pretty little park on the edge of the river mouth, just below the bridge and museum that mark the historic centre of town. Katz has already completed a series of models and drawings of the work and its site (including the above photo), but the always tricky issue of funding remains the sticking point for the project. The town government, its residents, and even the Down East Mall have been quite supportive of Katz’s plans in general, but a lot of work remains to be done to acquire the necessary funding, as well as to secure formal approval of any plan. Katz hopes to spend the fall drumming up support for the work, and is excited to hear further input from Islanders, especially the people of Montague.

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