Sarah Palin’s hometown in debate over public sculpture


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Sarah Palin’s hometown of Wasilla, Alaska, is back in the news -- but not for anything the former vice presidential candidate has said or done. A public sculpture at the town’s high school is causing a ruckus for what some claim to see as a depiction of the female genitalia.

The artwork in question is an outdoor sculpture created in conjunction with the state’s Percent For Art program, a public initiative to promote arts and culture. As reported in the local newspaper, the Frontiersman, some people believe that the work resembles a large vagina, while others dispute the resemblance.


The sculpture was unveiled on Jan. 29 at Wasilla High School, but officials covered the work with a tarp just a few days later. The school’s principal told the Frontiersman that the decision to cover the sculpture wasn’t an act of censorship but rather a response to concern that the piece might be damaged.

Artists Jim Dault and Shala Dobson created the sculpture, an oblong work made of stone and concrete that depicts various warrior symbols. The Frontiersman reports that the sculpture cost $100,000 to make. Alaska’s Percent for Art requires that 1% of the capital construction costs of public buildings go toward the acquisition and permanent installation of artwork, said the newspaper.

Palin has not publicly weighed in on the debate. The former politician isn’t a stranger to impromptu arts criticism, having expressed disappointment with the artwork on the most recent White House holiday card.


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-- David Ng