May 21, 2022
The Stefan Savides Bronze Sculptures Committee, the Klamath Basin Audubon Society and the City of Klamath Falls are jointly announcing the unveiling of Savides new work in Klamath Falls on Saturday May 21st at 2 p.m. at Putnam’s Point.
This piece features two very large Grebes in their iconic dancing pose with the resulting splashes and spray following in their wake. They are being mounted on a pedestal just to the North of the parking lot at Putnam’s Point. The total weight of the two Grebes and the water display is about 1,500 pounds and had about 40 individual pieces when it came to Savides’ studio from the foundry.
The total project cost came in at just under $80,000 with substantial donations of $25,000 from both the City of Klamath Falls, and the Wendt Family Foundation. The Klamath Basin Audubon Society contributed $10,000 from their treasury and then played a leading role in raising another $17,000 from individual donors to top off the funding campaign.
Savides has a number of pieces of his work in Klamath Falls and the Savides Sculpture committee is pledging to fundraise for and contract with Savides to produce one substantial piece of his work in a public setting each year. “Stefan Savides is simply one of the finest Avain (bird) bronze sculptors in the world and we are so darn lucky to have him as a resident in Klamath Falls”, said Bob Kingzett, member of the Savides sculpture committee.
“The really unfortunate thing is that we have not been engaging him to produce his world class work in Klamath Falls with any regularity, but that has changed in a big way, with the committee we now have sponsoring his work,” Kingzett said. “Our goal is to have a public piece of his art produced for Klamath annually,” he said.
Retired orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Karl Wenner has also joined the Savides Sculptures committee and said he is very excited about the unveiling of the Grebes piece. “Several of us have been working on this project for about two years now so it is really terrific to see it come to full completion”, Wenner said. “This piece will be very popular for birders all across the country and around the world,” Wenner stated.
Wenner saluted the Klamath Basin Audubon Society for their roles of support for the project. “Darrel Samuels, President of Audubon and his board and membership have been tremendous supporters of the project,” Wenner said. “They made a generous donation to the project and played a lead role in fundraising for the rest. Audubon also did a great job helping to put together three photo panels that describe our iconic Grebes and their amazing rituals and culture,” Wenner added.
Samuels said Audubon was really pleased to be a leading part of the project because Grebes are such an integral part of the birding lore of Klamath. “The Klamath Basin is an iconic birding destination for wintering Bald Eagles, but it is just as important for the spectacular show that the Clark’s and Western Grebes put on in the Spring and Summer on Upper Klamath Lake,” Samuels added.
“Having Grebes be the focus of this first project, is terrific”, Samuels said, ‘and the fact that Stefan is our artist, just makes it that much better”, he added. “ Among other things, these new pieces that we will commission with Stefan, will really add to Audubon’s Winter Wings Program. “It will give our hundreds of visitors wonderful new touring opportunities,” Samuels said.
Samuels also wanted to express appreciation to local renowned bird and wildlife photographers Mary Hyde and Howard West for their contribution of a large library of photographs used to select from for three Grebe interpretive panels to be placed near the sculpture. “ Mary and Howard were incredibly generous to let us use their terrific photos and to work with us to make our photo panels so compelling, and we cannot thank them enough for such,” Samuels said.
The City of Klamath Falls has been a major partner in the project as well. “The city led by leadership from Mayor Carol Westfall and strong support from the city council provided a great lead gift of $25,000 for the project,” Wenner said. “There has also been major landscaping and upgrading all of Putnam’s Points assets led by great vision and enthusiasm from City Parks Manager, John Bellon and his staff and structural and engineering support from Scott Souders, the City Development Services Director,” Wenner added. “In addition, the city partnered with DCI construction and DCI built a really great pedestal for the Grebes to be mounted on,” Wenner stated. “This whole project has been a wonderful partnership with the city,” Wenner concluded.
Savides bronze sculpture business is a family affair, Stefan is the design artist and does several iterations of initial mockups and completes the original clay models. His wife, Irena does the wax casting for the foundry and her son, Joe does all the welding, metal chasing and readies the pieces for Stefan to do the patina, which is a chemical process that creates the final coloration of the finished piece.
“All of us at Savides sculpture studio are extremely pleased to be the recipients of the efforts of the Savides Sculpture Committee, “Savides said. We are very excited to see this Grebe monument installed, as it will further place Putnam’s Point on the map as a national destination.
“With the wrap up of this project, we can focus on our next great project which is already under development and we will announce it at our Grebe unveiling on Saturday, May 21st. “Come see the Grebes dedication event and hear the details about our next truly exciting project,” Savides concluded.