Meet the Mayor
June 24, 2015
Most of you know just as much as I do about the Chainsaw Carving event that we enjoyed a few days ago. Probably more than I know. It was one of the best! My official mayoral opinion unbiased by prejudice.
Chetwynd hosted guests from around North America to watch the sculptors free the hidden treasures from the scaly chunks of ancient trees. Astonishing, isn’t it, the objects that grow up unseen in the forest, hidden within an ordinary-appearing tree. (I guess a massive cedar tree is ordinary – at least in its habitat, if not here on the eastern slopes.) Just wandering around the grounds with the buzz of the saws in the background I met visitors from Maine and from Alberta; from Chetwynd and from Dawson Creek. Thank you, Chetwynd, for giving them such a warm Chetwynd welcome.
And the sculptors themselves, magnificent specimens of humanity toughened by years of wielding the chainsaw, also journeyed to Chetwynd from places many of us have never visited – Australia, USA, Japan, Canada. Oh sure, some of us have visited these countries but not very likely the home towns of most of the sculptors.
However, it takes more than a brawny arm and a well-tuned chainsaw to release the art from the stump of wood assigned to each competitor. I know how to mix the saw gas, keep my saw sharp, and cut down my beetle-killed pine trees. I even cut them up and stack the wood against the winter blast. But to find the art in the tree – that’s not in me. The art has to be deep in the soul before the tree will release it. The sculptor has to have the vision in her or his mind before pulling the start rope. (I wonder what Michelangelo would have done with a chainsaw?)
But what is Chetwynd going to do with the sculptures we are accumulating? Good question. Fact is, there is still room in town to display a few more and we’ll likely add a few more still to our inventory but there is a limit to what we can afford to maintain. Council has been thinking, discussing, and seeking advice. The answer is not just blowing in the wind.
Some sculptures may yet find homes in our sister communities in the North East. You saw how the recently discovered Chetwysaurus has found a new home in Tumbler Ridge, the city of dinosaurs, and is delighted to be there. Our Chetwysaurus, in its own quiet way, will contribute much to the beauty of Tumbler Ridge and the interest the town holds for its visitors. Similar arrangements could be made with Dawson Creek, Pouce Coupe, Taylor, Hudson’s Hope. Fort St. John already has a sculpture in its airport, as does Prince George.
Is it too much of a stretch to think Grande Prairie airport or, dare we suggest, YVR, with each magnificent piece of art silently doing yeoman’s service for Chetwynd, pointing visitors in our direction?
Merlin Nichols, Mayor