Park City racks up a moose sculpture for municipal collection
November 24, 2017
Park City has racked up another piece of art for the municipal collection.
The Davis family, a Main Street property owner, recently donated the "Loosey the Moosey" sculpture to City Hall. Officials accepted the donation and have since finalized the paperwork needed for the transfer of ownership, completing the acquisition of an artwork that regularly draws attention from Parkites and visitors alike.
It is rare that City Hall receive a donated artwork that is as prominent as the "Loosey the Moosey" sculpture. The piece stands just outside a Davis-owned building at 558 Main St. that houses an art gallery. The sculpture is on the property and is situated along the Main Street sidewalk. People are frequently seen stopping to pose for photographs, and it has become a landmark for people not familiar with the shopping, dining and entertainment strip.
"Loosey the Moosey" and a series of other artistically designed moose sculptures were created more than a decade ago as part of a fundraiser for arts organizations. The pieces were sold at auction to raise monies, and nearly all of them were removed from public display shortly afterward. "Loosey the Moosey" is by a wide margin the most prominent of the ones that remain on display.
Ken Davis, a businessman and a representative of the family, said the gallery that leases the building where the sculpture is located wants to use the space to display statues and outdoor artworks, necessitating the removal of the piece. Davis, though, said he wants "Loosey the Moosey" to continue to be located in a public place.
"I'd hate the moose to leave the Main Street area," Davis said. "It's another one of the photo opps in town."
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He likened the popularity of "Loosey the Moosey" as a place to take photos to that of "Franz the Bear," a sculpture of a bear on a bench that is also located along Main Street.
"It was something I thought we should keep in the city," Davis said.
City Hall plans to temporarily remove the sculpture from public display for what an official says will be minor maintenance. Jenny Diersen, who is the special event and economic development program manager for the municipal government, said the sculpture will be put in storage for the maintenance work. It was not immediately known when "Loosey the Moosey" would be moved to storage.
Diersen said she anticipates the sculpture will be returned to public display in the spring. In a report submitted to Mayor Jack Thomas and the Park City Council outlining the artwork donation, Diersen said "Loosey the Moosey" will be placed on the plaza where the "Franz the Bear" piece is located. It will be on the Swede Alley side of the plaza rather than the Main Street side occupied by the other sculpture. The plaza is a heavily traveled pedestrian route between Main Street and the Old Town transit center. The location ensures "Loosey the Moosey" will remain in a prominent spot.
"We think it's an iconic piece," Diersen said, adding, "It's an opportunity to display a fun and funky piece of art."
A City Hall public-art panel in September recommended the municipal government accept the sculpture. The City Council supported the recommendation and in October also cast a vote in favor of accepting "Loosey the Moosey." The decision was not controversial and the public did not appear to closely follow the discussions.
"Loosey the Moosey" adds another piece to an eclectic municipal art collection that ranges from paintings that hang on the inside walls of the Marsac Building to large outdoor sculptures commemorating the 2002 Winter Olympics and the community's silver-mining heritage.
Main Street has long seen the public artworks as complementing a streetscape that features a mix of historic and contemporary buildings. Artworks like "Loosey the Moosey," "Franz the Bear" and a sculpture of a silver miner add to the atmosphere of the street, supporters say.
Michael Barille, the executive director of the Historic Park City Alliance, a group that represents businesses on or just off Main Street, said the sculpture is a "fun place for people to take pictures." Artworks like "Loosey the Moosey" are important to Main Street's identity, Barille said.
"It's really key to having a unique district," he said.
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