Enid artist pushes forward with downtown public art installation despite others’ reservations

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ENID, Okla. - An Oklahoma artist who has spent the last two years designing and working on a public art installation could possibly see her work go unfinished.

“I don’t really let my mind go there,” artist Romy Owens said. “I don’t know what I would do if it got torn down.”

Owens said she had to make it through initial pushback from the public before even breaking ground on her project.

“There’s been some interpretation that Under Her Wing was the Universe maybe means something that it doesn’t. It’s really about relationships. It’s not a pagan monument. It’s not a place for the occult,” Owens said.

The finished plans call for twinkling lights. It’s a place where visitors can sit under the canopy and look up at the makeshift stars. Owens said it’s a tribute to her mother.

“Every human being on the planet has somebody in their life that has taken them under their wing and shown them what the world is,” Owens said.

The project, which is currently under contract with the city, has raised over $250,000 in donated funding.

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Now, taking longer than expected, it has created concerns for some council members.

“I do think it’s an opportunity to analyze our decision making of whether or not we’ve made a good decision here each time. And if we have, continue to move forward. But if not, we still have the opportunity to say, ‘Hey, this is our opportunity to step back and say this wasn’t the best decision’ and we can go ahead and move on from this project,” said Commissioner Jonathan Waddell, during an August 20th city council meeting.

But others said it’d be a mistake to remove.

“The project needs to get done. And it is unique and it’s complicated and it’d a piece of art. And that doesn’t always move on the same schedule of building a shed or a warehouse. And that’s okay,” Commissioner Ben Ezzell said.

For now, Owens continues in hopes she’ll get to see the project come to light.

“This could become a very special place,” Owens said.

We asked Commissioner Waddell for comment but so far haven’t heard back.

The city council is expected to discuss the project during their September 24th meeting.

If the council does choose to vote to extend the project, Owens is asking the project deadline to be extended to July 1st, 2020.

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