Friday, May 01, 2015


The next stop on our mini-tour of VanWa public art is Phrogy, the goofy carved redwood frog at E. 11th & Broadway. As the story goes, back in 1981 a local businessman and his wife were on an anniversary trip to Carmel, California, a coastal town on Monterey Bay that's been an artist colony and tourist trap since time immemorial. Carmel elected Clint Eastwood as mayor for a few years back in the 1980s, if that gives you any idea. Anyway, the couple ran across this frog somewhere in Carmel, fell in love with it, bought it, and then donated it to the city, as one does. And the city took it, because the Pacific Northwest of 1981 didn't have today's annoying hangups about being tasteful and highbrow. They don't even seem to have kept track of who carved it originally, since I can't find that tidbit of information anywhere.

In any case, it's graced the streets of downtown Vancouver ever since, originally at a prominent spot at 11th & Main. By the early 2000s, time and the elements had taken their toll on the frog, and concerned citizens wrote letters to the local newspaper calling it an eyesore. It was restored a few years later (and no, I don't know how you restore a carved redwood frog), and was unveiled at its current location in March 2014. It even has a Facebook fan page with a few dozen likes, which is a few dozen more than most public art can muster.

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