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Council Bluffs residents ask for explanation and who paid for sculpture at River's Edge Park

Love it or hate it, it's got people talking
Posted: 5:51 PM, May 14, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-14 19:21:39-04
Council Bluffs asks for explanation and who paid for sculpture at River's Edge Park

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (KMTV) — Have you seen that statue at the riverfront?

Council Bluffs added a member to its family of art installations. Love it or hate it, it's got people talking, and some are wondering where the money came from to put a sculpture there. Some are venturing to River's Edge Park to get a glimpse of the sculpture for themselves.

"I think he's ugly, but he makes you look up," Peggy McCabe said when asked about her first impression.

The extraterrestrial is artist Tom Friedman's contemporary sculpture titled Looking Up. It has some spectators looking the other way, while others like McCabe and Renee Arterburn are taking a second look.

"It's not as terrible as everyone made it out to be," Arterburn said.

When the non-profit group Pottawatomie Arts, Culture and Entertainment -- also known as PACE -- introduced the 33 ft. tall aluminum sculpture online, there was some confusion on where the money came from to bring it to western Iowa.

PACE gallery coordinator Savanna Falter says the sculpture was purchased by a private donor using private funds. None of your money is paying for this or any other art in the city. Private dollars paid to rent the art, which came from previous stops in Chicago and New York City.

"Private dollars and private funds, there was no taxpayer money involved," Falter said.

McCabe and Arterburn are here to see Looking Up for themselves after seeing the commotion online.

"At first, I was thinking it was rather odd, but it's unusual and kind of makes you think a little bit," Arterburn said.

PACE encourages different interpretations to the art.

"I thought when I saw it on Facebook that it was ugly," McCabe said. "Seeing it in person, it's not bad. I kind of like it."

For those who aren't fans of Looking Up, it won't be here forever. PACE is renting the sculpture until May 2020.