The City of McCall’s Public Art Advisory Committee and council selected Idaho artists Erica and Jamie Laidlaw to create a public art piece for the city. And after surveying many people, from children to adults, the Laidlaws found that the public had similar interests in what they wanted.
“They just essentially wanted something that was pertinent and meaningful to this iconic town,” Erica said. “… The bigger themes that came out of it from the survey and from our discussions were that people were essentially looking for something that was beautiful but also really emulated or spoke to our natural environment. They also really wanted to focus on something that was practical and functional.”
So the Laidlaw’s came up with three different bench ideas, all reflective of what the public wanted. But the bench that won over the council and the public is Our Confluence.
Our Confluence represents the meeting of the Main Salmon and South Fork waterways. The bench is almost 16-feet long and can sit up to seven people. It has a 16-inch rib seat back made of cast concrete and steel. The artists will make the seating part of the bench from aggregates from the Salmon River and cast concrete.
“The way that we design the bench was supposed to emulate abstractly that confluence,” Erica said. “But also is supposed to mimic kind of the nature of a ribcage and the corporeal nature of our body and kind of draw allusions to both our natural environment and in their physicality. And also having it be on such a large scale that it was very engaging. And you think about not only the scale of a riverbed but also the scale of something so far beyond our own physical form.”
Jamie says the materials they will use are great for McCall’s outdoor climate. They use ultra-high-performance concrete that is really dense and backed with fibers. So structures can be strong and thin and last for a long time.
The potential bench location is on 2nd Street by the Payette Lake.
The council unanimously voted to approve Our Confluence as McCall’s newest public art piece. The timeline says the art will be installed by the end of August, 2021.