'Canned Salmon' sculpture dedicated

Proving that just about anything can be used to create art, Tacoma’s Environmental Services this morning dedicated “Canned Salmon,” an eight-foot, aluminum-clad salmon sculpture at the Broadway Plaza Fountain.

Tacoma artists Chris Wooten and Vladimir Shakov used more than 800 recycled aluminum cans from the city’s recycling center to create the shimmering red, green, yellow, blue and silver fish scales.

The design is based on a Japanese interlocking roofing technique in which the artists carefully folded and nailed each of the 6,000 scales on the fiberglass body of the giant fish.

“It’s a real honor for us to be a part of this,” Wooten said. “This was a great project for us.”

“I’m speechless,” Shakov noted.

Their work reflects their love of nature and the environment; both artists have exhibited their work for more than 30 years.

They reside in Browns Point, Wash. where they have studios.

“Canned Salmon” is part of Soul Salmon 2001, which will put hundreds of salmon sculptures between Vancouver, British Columbia and Portland, Ore.

“Canned Salmon” is just one of what is eventually planned to be 10 such sculptures in Tacoma, the most of any city, according to Tacoma City Councilman Bill Evans.

The dedication of “Canned Salmon” is part of a larger effort by Environmental Services to help educate the Tacoma community about the lifestyle of the salmon, as well as inspire local salmon culture and generate charity to save native salmon.

Prior to the unveiling, Connie McCloud of the Puyallup Tribe offered a blessing, saying her people have a “spiritual relationship with the salmon.”

“This is a really good day,” Evans said. “We’re going to have a lot of salmon around.”

“This is such a spectacular piece, as you all will soon see.”

Assistant Public Works Director/Environmental Services Karen Larkin said she was pleased to have the sculpture in Tacoma and praised the use of recycled materials in the project.

Following the unveiling, those in attendance were invited by McCloud to bless the sculpture by sprinkling water on the large fish.

In April, “Canned Salmon” will go on the auction block as part of the Soul Salmon fundraising auction.

Proceeds will benefit various environmental organizations.

“Canned Salmon” is located next to the Tacoma Actors Guild Theater, 915 Broadway in downtown Tacoma.