"Double Take," the whimsical willow sculpture by artist Patrick Dougherty that's stood on the grounds of the Palo Alto Art Center since 2011, has reached the end of its life. Karen Kienzle, the art center's director, said the all-natural-materials piece, which was always planned to be temporary, will be demolished and turned into wood-chip mulch in June.
"It's intended to go back to the earth from which it came," she said.
It's sad news for the sculpture's fans, many of whom have strolled through its passageways and peeked through its doors and windows over the years. Kienzle said the piece, which resembles a large nest or basket, has been exceedingly popular with patrons.
"For the past five years we have seen people just fall in love with that artwork," she said. "It's universally beloved and captured the imagination of our community."
Because of its popularity, Kienzle said the art center wants to give the community a chance to take a last look (and maybe one last selfie) and say goodbye to "Double Take" with some degree of celebration. There will be a "destruction ceremony" held on site June 12, 3-4 p.m., with a few speeches, some hands-on art activities, and the start of the sculpture's demolition.
However, there will be happier news for Dougherty fans announced as well. Kienzle said a plan is in place to bring Dougherty back in November to create a new willow sculpture, with a little financial help from some friends.
The Palo Alto Art Center Foundation plans to embark on a crowdfunding campaign to raise $15,000 toward the costs of the new piece (estimated price tag is around $60,000, including the artist's fee and the necessary materials to support the large, outdoor work). Anyone will be able to contribute to the online campaign, which will be set up in early June.
The Palo Alto Public Art Commission has also agreed to contribute $15,000 to the project after hearing Kienzle's presentation at its May 19 meeting, making it a joint endeavor between the two groups (other gifts and grants will make up the rest of the funding).
Kienzle is confident the community will be eager to support Dougherty's return. At a community tea the art center held earlier this month, Kienzle said there was an "audible gasp" from the crowd of around 125 attendees when she delivered the news about the demise of "Double Take."
But when she added, "'We're committed to try and bring (Dougherty) back and we want you to be part of it,' there was overwhelming applause," she told the Weekly.