Best Of

North Idaho's Best Public Art

Allium Spring Chorus

click to enlarge North Idaho's Best Public Art
Erick Doxey photo
They look like dandelions, but they're actually wild onions.

People may call the massive metal sculpture at the Third Street entrance to Coeur d'Alene's McEuen Park "the dandelions," and with three slender stems each topped by a globe of little star shapes, the artwork does resemble dandelions about to unleash their seeds.

But the 14-foot stainless steel sculpture by Massachusetts artist David Tonnesen is actually an ode to Idaho's wild onions, thus the artwork's actual title: Allium Spring Chorus.

Allium Spring Chorus is one of numerous public art pieces the Coeur d'Alene Arts Commission has selected for installation over the years. It's also one of the most popular, including with children.

Every September, Coeur d'Alene Arts and Culture Alliance Executive Director Ali Shute has worked with local architects, artists and landscape designers to lead area children on a drawing expedition as part of the national Kids Draw Architecture program. In addition to drawing buildings and other architectural elements, the kids draw public artwork.

"The Allium is one of the favorites, has always been a favorite," Shute says. "I think [that's] because it's in a really good location," she adds, "and it's just pretty."

The simplicity of the design makes it easy for kids of any age to draw it, Shute says. "And it represents something that grows here in the wild."

Not only do the little star-shapes — the "seeds" of the allium plant — move gently and subtly in the breeze, but they also shimmer in the sun.

"They definitely catch your attention."

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