In spite of the fact that I am married to an artist, have friends who are artists and work with artists, there are times that I still find myself taking some of these heartfelt expressions for granted. I fail to fully understand the concept of a “work” of art, as opposed to a “play” of art.
Art is labor intensive.
Take, for example this statue that we discovered near Basin Park in Downtown Eureka Springs.
I admired her for a brief time, asked Kurt to snap a photo, and then went on my way without even a second thought of the work behind this art.
Known as Adora Zerlina Astra, or Aza, this 900+ pound “Goddess of Basin Springs” is the creation of mosaic artist Bruce Anderson. Anderson was commissioned in 2011 by Dan and Belinda Harriman to sculpt a celestial goddess. Said goddess would find her home in the Harriman’s yard overlooking Basin Park. Aza is a celebration of feminine energy whose hand cut tiled dress was inspired by photographs of space from the Hubble Telescope. Aza arrived at her new home in the fall of 2012, a brilliant beauty enjoyed by both locals and visitors!
In 2019, things changed; well, property ownership changed. With that one swipe of the pen, the purpose of the Goddess of Basin Springs was called into question. Was she an idol? Was she an antagonist of Christianity? Did others really consider her a goddess? What was her meaning?
Is a work of art defined by the artist or the audience?
It seems as if these questions became quite overwhelming to the new owner. (I mean, my head is spinning a little just thinking about it.) Wanting nothing to flock the yard save annuals and perennials, she covered Aza with plastic, offering her free of charge to the city.
The city was not in a position to take her. Fortunately, an adjoining property owner was. And so, on a cloudy Sunday in December of 2019, a team of artists and volunteers from a local construction company gathered and gently relocated Aza. It was a slow painstaking process, one I’m sure they are proud of! (I love the teamwork in this little town!)
Aza can still be found at Basin Springs Park. Bruce Anderson has tended to a few scrapes and scratches she received over the years and during the move. She is also illuminated a night, an interesting detail I was not aware of until now.
I guess I’ll have to go back for a nocturnal visit!