VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A Vancouver art group wants to put the dude back in Dude Chilling Park, launching a fundraiser to restore and return the iconic statue.
The Vancouver Art House Society (VAHS) has launched an Indigogo fundraiser in the hopes of raising $20,000 to cast the statue in bronze and bring it back to the park.
“We just feel the story is an important one of the transformative power of art, so that’s why we feel it’s really important to bring the sculpture back,” society board member Corinne Lea said. “Prior to it being officially named from the artist, it wasn’t really a very notable park. Hardly anyone used it. The minute the artist named it Dude Chilling, people took an interest. And the park is completely transformed. Now any time the sun’s out people are hanging out there.”
Reclining Figure, a wood carving that resembles a person lounging on the grass, was installed in Guelph Park in 1991 by artist Michael Dennis and soon became an icon of the park, leading to its unofficial moniker. In 2012, artist Viktor Briestensky installed a fake park sign reading Dude Chilling Park.
When the Vancouver Park Board removed the sign, it was met with public outcry and eventually lead to the creation of an official Dude Chilling Park sign being installed.
All that outdoor lounging, however, took its toll on the wood and Dennis removed the statue two years ago.
“It was never artwork that was provided for by the city, so when it comes to replacing the dude they don’t feel responsibility, but the community wants the dude back,” Lea said.
The goal is to replace the wood with bronze, allowing the statue to become a permanent fixture.
“The city with all the rules can be quite boring. It’s nice to see something that’s just fun, with a sense of humour,” former Park Board member Sara Blyth said. “In the day-to-day grind of life and when they see something like Dude Chilling Park with the dude chilling statue lying there, it can make people feel good. It brings people to the park and makes Vancouver unique.”
The fundraising campaign ends May 7. The VAHS hopes to install the statue by July or August and host a party in the park to welcome its return.