The Office of Cultural Affairs has recommended artist Brower Hatcher to design a $272,000 sculpture on Garland Road near the White Rock spillway.

That decision came as a surprise to some White Rock Lake groups, who say they were not included in the artist selection process.

“Why are we just now hearing about this?” asked White Rock Lake Task Force secretary Michael Jung, during a meeting with about 15 neighborhood residents at the Bath House Wednesday night.

Funding for the sculpture is coming from the city water department. The parks department selected the site for it. The White Rock Lake Centennial celebration committee was consulted in the planning, as the sculpture is intended to represent the 100th anniversary of the lake. And the cultural affairs office issued the call for proposals and is working as a liaison between the city and prospective sculptors.

But board members for the White Rock Task Force and For the Love of the Lake say they have been left out of the process.

It sounds like a matter of miscommunication. Public art program manager Kay Kallos, who coordinates public art all over the city, says she wasn’t aware of the White Rock Lake Task Force. She said she would ask the parks department why the group hasn’t been included in selecting an artist.

The artist has taken suggestions from the few neighborhood residents who have seen it, and he is working on a second iteration of it, which will be available in about 10 days. Once that happens, Kallos says she will call another meeting with neighborhood groups to review it and offer suggestions. The City Council must ultimately approve the design. The cultural affairs office would like to get the proposal approved this spring.

Let’s talk about the art now. Kallos wouldn’t give me a picture of the sculpture as it is proposed now. Kallos says we can publish a picture of the next iteration, after Hatcher submits it.

After seeing the proposed sculpture last night, one neighbor reacted with this: “Oh great, another phallus. That’s just what we need, another penis.”

Now that we have your attention, please allow me to describe the proposal.

Here is an example of Hatcher’s public art. I found it on his website, and it’s the one I thought seemed most similar to the proposal we saw Wednesday night.

The White Rock Lake sculpture would sit atop a base, with a slender aluminum structure, similar to the one above, about 24 feet tall, which ends in three wave-like tiers. The base would be covered in tiles superimposed with historical images of White Rock Lake. Here is an example:

The aluminum part is meant to invoke water, and Hatcher is working with the city archivist and the park department’s unofficial historian to identify the native plants and fish, which he would replicate in metal. He proposes to attach these fish and plants, along with huge glass beads, to the aluminum part.

Here is an example of that ornamentation:

We will keep you updated on the next meeting regarding the White Rock Lake sculpture.