15 Vie to Create NB’s Reagan Statue

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President Reagan
President Reagan

A controversial statue of President Reagan moved a step closer to reality this week as 15 artists’ proposals were received by the city by the Wednesday afternoon deadline.

The prize for the winning artist: a $50,000 contract to create a statue of the former California governor and U.S. president to be placed in Castaways Park.

The names of the artists haven’t been disclosed yet by the city, but a subcommittee of the city’s Art Commission is expected to review them today.

One the proposing artists is Stanley Watts of Utah, said Councilman Keith Curry, who first proposed the statue and has been publicly spearheading it. Watts was previously the selection of Curry and the private financial backers of the project. The list includes both local and national artists, Curry said.

The Newport Beach City Council approved the statue last month after a heated debate within the city. The Castaways Park location was proposed by Curry after objections were raised to the statue being placed in the city’s new Civic Center complex now under construction at Newport Center.

The Arts Commission is expected to make a recommendation on what artist they think should be awarded the contract to build the statue.  A committee for the financial donors who raised the money for the statue will also review the proposals and forward their recommendations to the city.

City Manager Dave Kiff will make the final selection on the city’s behalf. That job was delegated to him as part of the council’s approval of the project.


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