Two pigs and two turkeys returned to their spot along Asheville’s Urban Trail in the center of Pack Square on Tuesday after a more than two-year absence.
Artist Robert Gursky and co-worker John Ransmeier installed a mother pig and piglet, as well as a mother turkey and a poult, at Urban Trail stop No. 2. The stop has traditionally one of the most popular and well-known along the Urban Trail, a citywide self-guided tour started in 1991.
“We’re really hoping the community is excited about seeing them come back,” Diane Ruggiero, Asheville’s superintendent of cultural arts, said Thursday in the blustery cold as she watched Gursky and Ransmeier prepare to install the sculptures.
The Urban Trail, a tour through downtown Asheville punctuated by dozens of bronze sculptures and an accompanying plaque detailing local history, has been a work in progress for years. Thieves stole the piglet in the summer of 2007 and tried, but failed, to haul off the mama pig, which has been in storage since. Other stops along the trail have also been hit by vandals. And the trail’s station No. 1 remains unfinished. Extra concrete will be poured around the base of the animals’ feet to help them in place.
Ruggerio says the sculpture of a girl drinking from a fountain is scheduled to be returned to her spot in the new Pack Square next week. The sculpture was removed because of work on the park. It will no longer function as an actual fountain and the lamp post it is attached to will feature an electric light fixture, rather than the original gas lantern.
— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor