Community Opportunity to Vote for Public Art: an Outdoor Sculpture at the Wastewater Treatment Facility

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Press Release from the City of Coeur d’Alene

COEUR D’ALENE, IDAHO – From March 1 to 18, 2024, at the Coeur d’Alene Public Library, the public may cast votes to help select the artwork which will be installed at the Advance Wastewater Treatment Facility (AWTF). The selected artwork will be located on the AWTF grounds (881 Hubbard Avenue) adjacent to the 24-mile-long Idaho Centennial Bike Trail that runs from the Idaho-Washington state line to Higgins Point. The artwork will be visible from the trail and the Spokane River.

To increase the public’s awareness of the AWTF, the arts commission sought a creative way to draw in and educate trail users of “what biogas is and what it is used for.” In short, biogas is a byproduct of one of many wastewater treatment processes and is often used for power generation or as a heat source. Excessive biogas is flared or flamed (burned) off. This artwork will include open flame in the final design and reflect the amazing transformation of recycling wastewater into a viable “Class A” clean water source. What better way to draw the public’s attention than incorporating artwork with fire?

Mike Becker, capital programs manager at the AWTF says, “The goal for this Artwork is to significantly beautify and delight those passing by the city’s AWTF, while at the same time providing an educational element pertaining to biogas along this section of the trail. The wastewater department will fund, develop, and install the educational element regarding biogas for this project.”

The Wastewater Department worked alongside the Coeur d’Alene Arts Commission in the past when artists were commissioned to create seven fun sculptures depicting renditions of microorganisms or bugs associated with wastewater. These artworks, currently featured in front of the AWTF Administration Building located at 765 Hubbard Avenue, include a crowd favorite, the dung beetle, as part of its ongoing Art in Public Places Program. 

The AWTF Biogas Flare Project Art Selection Committee, composed of a group of citizen volunteers, was tasked with choosing semi-finalists for the installation. The four semifinalists created intricate maquettes for the public to view and vote on. The semifinalists are Katherine Taylor, Engineered Artworks, Melissa Cole and Milo White, and Lin McJunkin. 

How to vote

The maquettes will be on display at the Coeur d’Alene Library. People can view and vote for their favorite using paper ballots and a ballot box from March 1 to March 18, 2024.

Additional information

After the ballots are counted, the AWTF Biogas Flare Project Art Selection Committee will reconvene to discuss and evaluate the public vote. The arts commission will consider the committee’s evaluation, the public vote, and its own members’ views to decide on a finalist. At a later date, the finalist will be recommended to the Coeur d’Alene City Council which will make the final decision. Once the finalist is notified and awarded the contract, the artist will have six months to complete the sculpture. Installation is estimated to be completed in the fall of 2024.

The Coeur d’Alene Arts Commission has been charged by the City Council to “stimulate and encourage, throughout the city and surrounding area, the study and presentation of the performing and fine arts and public interest and participation.” The citizens of Coeur d’Alene are committed to building an exceptional collection of public art – art that defines the community and distinguishes it from others, complementing Coeur d’Alene’s many attributes, and serving posterity.

For any questions, please contact Stephanie Padilla at or 208-769-2221.