Schweitzer roundabout sculpture installed

By Cameron Rasmusson
Reader Staff

It’s been a long time coming, but the Schweitzer Cutoff Roundabout public art project is installed and making waves on social media.

The sculpture at the Roundabout in Ponderay. Courtesy photo.

Installed at the beginning of the month, the artwork is a stainless steel structure with a blue interior and an orbital finish. Named Celestial Sierra, the sculpture is intended to evoke images essential to Sandpoint’s character, including its mountains, lake and skiing culture. As with previous public art installation, the piece has provoked spirited debate on social media. Some find the sculpture’s abstract design and understated color accents elegant, while others are less impressed.

“Trees, sailboats, mountains. We have it all. Kinda cool it can be viewed as any of those,” commented Christa Francis on a Sandpoint Online Facebook post. “Can’t wait to see it all lit up and reflecting on the snow that will surround it in the winter.”

“Eye sore and is so out of place in this area!” commented Maria Montague-Mahoney immediately afterward.

The design was approved by the Sandpoint City Council almost exactly a year ago after a robust selection process by the Sandpoint Arts Commission. Narrowing down the project proposals was a task in its own right. The commission received 150 responses to its request for proposals, 73 of which advanced for more serious consideration. Seattle artist Troy Pillow ultimately landed the contract with a proposal that evoked several Sandpoint motifs and echoed the Sand Creek Byway with planned blue lighting.

Altogether, the Schweitzer Cutoff Roundabout public art project cost $90,000, plus another $20,000 for landscaping and other aesthetic improvements. The project was paid for by Sandpoint Urban Renewal Agency.

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