ARLINGTON – This is one time where it’s safe to take a cougar sighting in downtown sitting down.
City staff Friday installed a new bench on Olympic Avenue near 1st Street that features an expressive, chainsaw-carved cougar emerging from a stone cave, staring down its next meal – or to pose for a photo with passing pedestrians.
The latest addition to Arlington’s public art collection, titled “Silent Hunter,” was created by artist Jacob Lucas, a regular vendor at the annual Eagle Festival’s chainsaw art market in Legion Park.
The piece, about 15 feet long with the cougar perched in the middle, was commissioned by the Arlington Arts Council, and donated to the city, valued at $2,500.
Lucas said he liked how it turned out. “It’s one of my better pieces, and the location is perfect.”
Lucas said he carves just about everything – bears, eagles, dragons, lighthouses and people, but he practiced about four years to figure out the nuances of sculpting a cougar face and body.
“Cougars are one of the hardest animals to carve,” he said. “There’s just something about the feline bone structure and shapes that makes it more difficult.”
Lucas said the project took him about a week.
While this is the carver’s first piece for Arlington, his works are on display in other towns including a large fisherman catching a salmon in his hometown of Bonney Lake, a 10-foot nutcracker in downtown Leavenworth and 30 tree sculptures around Bridgeport in Eastern Washington, memorializing town pioneers or depicting bears, mule deer and other animals cut out of diseased sycamores.