Made up of 20,000 pounds of self-weathering steel, the large Ram Horns now adorn the Highway 93/95 roundabout in the heart of Radium Hot Springs.
When the Village first got funding from the provincial and federal governments for the $11.9-million roundabout at its prominent Highway 93/95 intersection, there was always the intention of centring a public art piece upon completion.
“The roundabout was the biggest change and right from the beginning, the word was that MOTI (Ministry of Transporation and Infrastructure) would support us to put an art piece in there,” Clara Reinhardt told MyEastKootenayNow.com, Mayor of Radium Hot Springs. “They provided some funding and we’ve been working for two years trying to figure out what that would look like.”
“We started out thinking that we could design-build an art piece and it quickly became apparent that when you’re looking at art, you can’t do that by group and by consensus, you really need to take a different approach,” explained Reinhardt. “We had to regroup and send out the RFP (Request for Proposal) and that’s when things started to come together.”
Adam Meikle of Meikle Studios in Salmon Arm, BC put in a proposal to the Village of Radium Hot Springs for the large Ram Horns. The design was universally accepted by Council through the RFP process.
“We were absolutely awed and we loved it right from the beginning,” said Reinhardt.
“I was elated that my idea was considered and that it was a good fit for them,” Meikle told MyEastKootenayNow.com from his Salmon Arm studio. “My process to make the Ram Horns possible was a lot of late nights and figuring and pondering, and researching the region and reading the minds of Mayor and Council and determine exactly what they are looking for and making it something that would be timeless and monumental.”
Hearing of the proposal for the public art piece in spring 2020, Meikle said the entire project took about eight months to complete, the majority of which was the planning and realization of the sculpture. Meikle said fabrication took about four weeks and another five days to fully install the Ram Horns at the roundabout. The finished piece was officially unveiled by Radium Hot Springs on Wednesday, April 7th.
Meikle said the sculpture is the largest he’s done in his career, surpassing the world’s largest treble clef, another sculpture he had done in Salmon Arm. Made up of 20,000 pounds of steel, Meikle said the material used for the Ram Horns is an invention out of Switzerland.
“It is self-weathering,” explained Meikle. “It lacquers and patinas over time and that surface hardens so that it doesn’t oxidate or rust any further – pretty fantastic medium to work with.”
The large art piece will stand sturdy for decades to come in Radium Hot Springs, and Mayor Reinhardt couldn’t be happier that they decided to turn over the art ideas to the public.
“If you’re not an artist, you can’t maybe have the vision, but you can sure feel when you’ve got the right thing and it’s perfect.”
Reinhardt hopes the iconic Ram Horns will be a signal to visitors and travellers, which will continue to help put Radium Hot Springs on the map as a tourist destination.
“We want them to look at that – the centrepiece at the rams and say wow, Radium is a happening place. This is the Columbia Valley, there must be more like that going on here, when COVID is over and when we have time we need to come back and explore.”
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