20 foot sculpture could sail into downtown Portsmouth

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The landscape of Portsmouth could be changing.

A local artist is proposing a 20 foot tall sculpture to sit in the traffic circle outside City Hall and the Portsmouth Pavillion. Rebecca Larys and Support Portsmouth Public Arts presented their proposal at  Tuesday night’s city council meeting.

The idea for sculpture came to Larys one day as she was driving. It’s a sailboat — the city’s symbol — in three dimensions.

“It’s four sailboats intertwined,” she told WAVY.com.

It’s a nod to the city’s rich maritime heritage with driver safety top of mind.

“On the center of the mast we’ve created a large opening so that at any given point on the circle you can see the opposing traffic.”

The model blew away Support Portsmouth Public Arts (SPPA), the group responsible for the bronze toad outside the Children’s Museum and the Love Sculpture on the seawall jumped right in to help the project set sail.

SPPA Secretary Barbara Vincent told 10 on Your Side, “We knew fundraising was going to be a magnitude we hadn’t experienced before.”

They would need $100,000. Turns out they didn’t have to look very far — Breeden Company agreed to pay for all of it.

Breeden owns Harbor Vista Apartments, which sits across from the circle. Their residents would get a unique view.

Larys is also waiving all fees. It’s a gift she hopes will be well received.

“I really hope the proposal is something people will appreciate aesthetically and be proud to have in our city.”

So far, the sailboat sculpture has been well received by council — if approved, it could be anchored in Portsmouth permanently by the end of next summer. Councilwoman Elizabeth Psimas said at this point, the only thing left to do is get a permit that the statue would require.

You can let council know what you think during a public comment session at their July 11 meeting.