The pieces will replace 10 sculptures currently on loan at the garden when their loan period ends in September.
Each year the city’s Parks, Art and Community Enrichment board undergoes a selection process to fill vacant spots in the garden. The garden currently has 12 sculptures, two of which are part of the city’s permanent collection.
The PACE board solicited applications from artists in March and received 18 entries from 12 artists, two of whom are Cedar Park residents, according to city documents. The other 10 are from other parts of Central Texas.
In June, the PACE board selected 10 pieces to recommend for Cedar Park City Council’s approval, including pieces from both Cedar Park artists. City Council voted 4-2 July 11 to approve the board's recommendation to provide space in the garden for the 10 chosen sculptures. Council Members Tim Kelly and Dorian Chavez opposed the recommendation. Mayor Pro Tem Michael Guevara was absent.
The sculptures range in theme and style. They include a bronze head of a grizzly bear, a steel silhouette titled “Stephen F. Austin,” a paint brush that appears to be painting the Texas flag and more.
Kelly said he did not like the fact that one of the pieces references Stephen F. Austin.
“The guy was a slave owner,” Kelly said. “He was a racist, and I don’t want anything with his name anywhere near my city.”
Council Member Rodney T. Robinson, who voted to approve the pieces, said in the future he would prefer the artwork to have more relevance to Cedar Park.
“I’d like to see art that represents our city,” Robinson said. “If we do have people that are going to create art and it’s going to be in our display, I’d like it to at least be a better representation of our people and our community and our history.”
Chavez said he agreed he would like the art to be more representative of Cedar Park.
Council Member Mel Kirkland said art is subjective, and he is wary of limiting the type of art the city displays.
“I think any time you try to limit art and you’re trying to reduce creativity, you start to run into issues of trying to be objective in a subjective realm,” Kirkland said.
The selected pieces will be on loan for one year, according to city documents. The year of new sculptures will kick off at the Taste of Cedar Park event Oct. 15.
The Cedar Park Sculpture Garden is located next to the Cedar Park Recreation Center at 1435 Main St., Cedar Park.