‘Waterdance’ installed — let the celebration begin

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL

As dawn broke on Tuesday morning of this week Anderson’s Metal Sculpture installed and attached a much-anticipated work of art to the face of Rockford’s iconic Rogue River Dam.

Last one - a Brown Trout - and the rest is history! The Squire was there at the very beginnings of Waterdance and saw it through every step of the way to its finale.

Titled Waterdance, the sculpture is composed of three stainless steel fish leaping for joy amidst swirls of water.  The grander than life-size fish, synonymous with the Rogue River, are a rainbow trout, a steelhead, and a brown trout.

Utilizing a specially constructed boom, powered by 11 muscular and eager helpers, each fish was lowered from the top of the dam to be anchored to the dam’s foundation by Steven Anderson below.  From start to finish the 1 ¾ hour well- choreographed installation went off without a hitch, much to the great pleasure of all involved.  The finished piece was then draped from view for what was to follow later in the evening.

After draping the sculpture for an unveiling ceremony later in that evening, the whole installation gang leaps for joy. Mind you, the sculpture installation was accomplished between 6 a.m. and 7:45 a.m. while a scant two-dozen bystanders, who happened on the scene, watched.

And so, just prior to this year’s first Tuesday evening performance of the ever popular Huntington Rogue River Blues series, all in attendance were invited by Rockford City Manager Michael Young to gather at the Rockford Dam Overlook for an unveiling and dedication ceremony of “something really special for the town by a very, very talented man, Sculptor Steve Anderson.”  Young went on to say, “Waterdance will be the centerpiece of the City’s summer long celebration of Rockford’s 75th anniversary of being incorporated as a city in June of 1935.”

Young further noted that the DDA, The Rockford Area Arts Commission, and the City of Rockford underwrote the material costs of the sculpture.  For his part, Anderson tells us his creative costs of design and layout along with construction labor and installation were Anderson’s Metal Sculpture’s gift to the Rockford community.

Anderson, a CedarRock resident, expressed his gratitude to all who played a hand in the creation and installation of Anderson’s Metal Sculpture’s most prodigious undertaking to date.  He asked that special recognition be given to his sons, Chad and Troy, for being co-creators of Waterdance. He also recognized Randy Everett of Rahm Industrial Services, Inc. and his 2-man crew, Dave and Nester, for prior preliminary concrete repair and hardware installation at the dam site.  And finally to his pre-dawn installation crew consisting of: (in no particular order) Chad and Troy Anderson, Jim Baker, Nolan and Ryan Davis, Nick and Tyler Emery, Earl Kindle, Cody and Mike Long, and Bill VanHorn.  “This dream of mine would not have been possible without the hard work and support of these folks,” said Anderson.

“Word of mouth is a powerful tool,” said Rockford Mayor Chi Chi Rogers.  “People here tonight, along with hometown newspaper coverage, will spread that word and countless others will follow.  They will now need to take a ‘new’ picture of the dam with Waterdance its focal point!”

The popular Kevin Costner movie Field of Dreams tells us, “you build it and they will come”.  Waterdance will prove that adage in spades.

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