Read all about the conflict as played out in the Sault Star


A trio of sculptures adorning the front wall of the John Rhodes centre are to be removed - temporarily - so they can be clothed and fastened securely. 

City staff have received some complaints that the sculptures, called Corpus Mobilis, are rude and should not front a city owned facility.

CAO Joe Fratesi said the sculptures need to be removed temporarily anyway from the Elizabeth Street facility because of a potential safety issue.

"We've discovered that the fasteners may not be strong enough and they need to be reinforced so the sculptures don't fall," he said. The sculptures have been mounted for about a week.

The work, cast in fiberglass-reinforced bronze depicting athletes, will also be modified by the artist Michael Burtch.

Burtch, who was paid $15,000 for the trio in the commissioned work competition, was out of town Friday could not be reached for comment.

His proposal, which had been submitted and approved by the Cultural Advisor Board and ultimately city council, called the figurative sculpture ensemble a representation of figures that could be interpreted either as diving, swimming, gymnastic or yoga positions.

The proposal also said the figures are posed to suggest movement or readiness for movement, in the ensemble, they relate to each other in a form of circular composition through the extension of the limbs and the positioning of each figure.

While the city owns the statues and can ultimately decide what it wants done with them, the chair of the Cultural Advisory Board says an informed decision should be made before any action is taken. 

"Any decision that the city may make should await proper examination of what really is the response because I've heard several comments that are very much to the contrary," said Doug McChesney.

If public concern about nude art statues results in their removal, McChesney questioned what others in the city - such as the courthouse, cenotaph- which might be affected next. 

"How anybody could see anything suggestive with what's there is beyond me",he said Friday night.

"You can pick up any tabloid, newspaper or magazine on the newsstand and you're going to see a lot worse than that."

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