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There could be a giant troll calling Austin's Pease Park home next year

A child sitting on a large wooden troll sculpture
Courtesy of Thomas Dambo
The Pease Park Conservancy shared this photo of a troll sculpture in Denmark created by Thomas Dambo as an example of what the commissioned piece could look like.

The Pease Park Conservancy wants to install a large troll sculpture made out of scrap wood and recycled trash at the park early next year as part of efforts to educate the community about the environment.

The conservancy, a nonprofit organization that partners with the City of Austin, would pay Denmark-based artist Thomas Dambo up to $350,000 to license the piece for 15 years. Dambo has installed more than 100 sculptures around the world. His most famous works are these troll sculptures made out of recycled materials.

The conservancy previously has arranged projects for the park including the stick-work sculpture from North Carolina artist Patrick Dougherty and an installation of blue trees by New Zealand artist Konstantin Dimopoulos.  

The conservancy posted a FAQ page online about the project, along with a survey to gauge the public's interest. Interim CEO Chuck Smith said about 80% of feedback so far has been “overwhelmingly supportive."

But some respondents expressed concern that Dambo is not an Austin-based artist and suggested Pease Park is not the best place for the statue.

Smith said the park tries to incorporate regional and international artists, as well as local artists. “We see benefits of bringing an artistic perspective to the community that we might not usually see," he said.

Smith said the nonprofit believes the statue could help teach kids about sustainability and the environment and that he hopes it could “become the centerpiece of our programming."

“We would love to be able to give kids the opportunity to see something they wouldn’t see anywhere else,” he said.

Because Pease is one of Austin’s oldest and most historic parks, many residents see the park as an important landmark. Pease Park has sat in the heart of the city for over a century, annually playing host to the iconic celebration of Eeyore's birthday.

Some Austinities said the statue was too expensive and that the conservancy could use the money for other projects. The statue would be paid for by the conservancy, which gets funding from donors. Smith said the statue would not "take resources away from our work to steward the park in our maintenance and programming.”

Smith said the conservancy has filed an application with Austin's Art in Public Places program, which acquires and maintains artwork on city-owned land. The proposal will undergo “multiple levels of review and questioning." If it is approved, the conservancy will meet with the parks division to discuss logistics such as location and cost. The conservancy hopes to begin installation by February.

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