Sebastian in Bellingham

28 March, 2010

Almost all of the Sebastian sculptures are now installed in the six-block area of the center of Bellingham designated at the city ‘culture district.’ The remaining three that are to go down town will be installed in the next two weeks. The sculpture by Sebastian that is owned by the City of Bellingham, Lipchitziana, will be put back up in Big Rock Garden Park rather than downtown Bellingham.

Las Palomas (The Doves) got its final coat of paint last week. The paint used is a DuPont product called Imron which is used to paint airplanes. It has been painted Pearl White. Before it can be installed it had to be studied by a structural engineer to determine the nature of the base to which it is to be secured and the method of securing the sculpture to the base. It weighs 1,500 lbs and is 16.8 ft. tall. The city does not want it falling over on someone in an earthquake or in a strong wind. A structural engineer was found who volunteered to do the analysis/calculations at no charge and an engineering firm agreed to submit the paperwork to the city under their liability bond. The city administration should have that paperwork this week.

Next on the agenda is to plan a function that would bring Sebastian and Gabriela (his wife) to Bellingham. We are working on having it at the beginning of July with a reception in the new city art museum on Friday afternoon, 2 July, a lecture at 7 pm at the old museum ‘Rotunda Room.’ On the following day we would plan a fiesta on the lawn of the library with a Mariachi orchestra celebrating Mexico’s Bicentennial of independence from Spain and the centenary of the Mexican Revolution. Vamos a ver si puedemos a hacerlo.

There are still a lot of finishing touches for the exhibit but we are well on our way to completion. Now we are exploring what to do with the exhibit when it is taken down in early October of this year. We’ll keep you posted on progress.

Several related subjects are the loan of the Trono de Nezahualcoyotl by Sebastian that is in VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Information on that project has its own page under ‘Current Activities’. Another topic related to the SEBASTIAN IN BELLINGHAM exhibit is the placement of Las Palomas in Korea to serve as the Korean War Children’s Memorial.


In early February of 2008 Mary Ann and I were in Mexico City and had dinner with Sebastian, Gabriela and their son, Matias, in a Polish Restaurant on the Paseo de la Reforma near Chapultepec Park. At the dinner Sebastian mentioned that he would be interested in having an exhibit of sculpture in Vancouver, BC, Canada at the time of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. I told him I would check it out for him and see what was possible. On return to Bellingham I made contact with various entities in Vancouver to enquire about a possible venue for such an exhibit and a sponsor for the same but found that it was already too late to get much attention from the city government and from private art enterprises. I then suggested to Sebastian that we explore the possibility of having such an exhibit in Bellingham in time for the Winter Olympic Games as Bellingham was the ‘door’ to Vancouver for all visitors going to the games from the US by land.

Kelly Hart, the Executive Director of Allied Arts of Whatcom County brought to my attention a call for proposals from the Washington State Tourism Office for a grant of funds to help finance tourist activities in 2010. The grant was for a maximum of $25,000 on a matching basis. I e-mailed the information to Sebastian and spoke with him and Gabriela on the phone several times and the net result was that he made a commitment to match the state money with $25,000 dollars from the Fundacion Sebastian.

As part of the process of writing the grant proposal I met with the directors of all of the major arts constituencies in Whatcom County and got their support. They included: Bellingham Arts Commission, Allied Arts of Whatcom County, Whatcom Community Foundation, Whatcom Museum of Art, Whatcom County Tourism Office and the City of Bellingham. The grant had to be given to a public entity such as the City of Bellingham or to a private-non-profit organization registered with the IRS as a 501(c)3 organization. After exploration of the options available I decided that the project, called SEBASTIAN IN BELLINGHAM, would best fit under the aegis of the Allied Arts of Wahtcom County organization and negotiated an agreement with them for that status. A long time colleague, Al Zimmerman of Zim Group Advertising and Promotion, was to be the Director for advertising and promotion.