The larger-than-life fox sculpture crafted to rival Wall Street’s charging bull and give the Town of Middleburg a recognizable face will soon have a home.
The Town Council last Thursday night discussed potential locations around town for the installation of the six-foot-long bronze red fox sculpture. Those included on the triangular green space in front of The Pink Box Visitors Center at the intersection of North Madison and Marshall Streets; along the VDOT right-of-way somewhere in town, such as at the corner of Washington and Madison Streets; and in front of the Middleburg Community Center—a site favored by the town staff.
The sculpture, which cost $30,000 for Artists in Middleburg resident artist and vice president Goksin Carey to create, could be installed at one of those locations once it’s complete and delivered to the town in late September.
“It will be a great addition to the town, a great piece of public art,” said Town Administrator Danny Davis.
At the core of Thursday’s discussion were concerns about public safety and a desire to locate a site that will work for years to come.
Mayor Bridge Littleton expressed concern for onlookers of the sculpture, noting that if it were to be installed on one of the sidewalk bump-outs along Washington Street, visitors taking photos of it, or of their kids on top of it, might be at risk of stumbling into the road. “It has to be in an area that is not on the road,” he said.
Councilman Philip Miller backed up Littleton’s sentiment by noting that three people died while taking selfies at the Grand Canyon in the first week of April.
“People do not pay attention to what they’re doing,” he said. “It is definitely a concern that we need to think about.”
When Vice Mayor Darlene Kirk asked whether the staff thought of installing the sculpture in front of the Red Fox Inn, Davis said that option might not work because the inn’s white picket fence might block the sculpture from public view and because passersby might think the inn owns the sculpture.
But it was the town staff’s recommendation to install the sculpture in front of the community center that a majority of council members agreed with, considering the location’s frontage along, yet distance from, Washington Street and the high numbers of pedestrian and event traffic.
When Councilman Kevin Hazard asked how easy it would be to move the sculpture once installed, perhaps out front of the new town office once it’s built, Moore said that it wouldn’t be easy to do. “This is not something that we can turn into a mobile thing,” he said.
Davis assured council members that the community center would most likely be a location that residents for generations to come will agree on.
Davis said he would have a more formal discussion with Olivia Rogers, the community center’s operations director, about installing the sculpture there and that he would ask her to bring the idea before the community center’s board for approval.
In the meantime, staff members will investigate additional options along the Washington Street corridor and bring those before the council at its Sept. 12 meeting.
Carey began working on the sculpture Aug. 1 and completed work last Friday. It will remain at the Artists in Middleburg studio for residents to stop in and take a look until Sept. 7, at which point it will be sent to a foundry in Fredericksburg to be bronzed before being delivered to the town. When installed in the town, it will sit atop a 6-by-2.5-foot granite base donated by a local granite company.
The project has been funded by donations from multiple organizations and individuals, including $10,000 from the town, and various amounts from the Middleburg Garden Club, Virginia Marble and Granite, Vivian Warren, Jason and Melissa Craig, the Cadenas family, Crème de la Crème and other town businesses, along with funds from raffle ticket sales.
The idea for a fox sculpture in town was initially proposed by Business and Economic Development Director Jamie Gaucher, who felt the town should find a way to personify its heritage, which includes decades of fox hunting. A New York City native, Gaucher said the town could accomplish that goal with an installment similar to the 11-by-16-foot charging bull sculpture on Wall Street.