‘It Was Bigger Than Life’: David Goffder, sculptor of Bloomsday runner statues dies in Riverfront Park

David Goffder, the sculptor of Bloomsday’s statues of runners in Riverfront Park in addition to many other works seen around the country, died on Wednesday. He was 71 years old.

Goffer died of health issues Wednesday morning in hospital, said local musician Carrie Flay, Goffair’s close friend and frequent collaborator. He is survived by his only son, Forrest.

“He was bigger than life. He was a Hemingway character,” Fly said. “He was huge inside and out and he had so much love and it all inside of him. … He encompassed life in a way that no one else could because his scope was so huge.

“It’s a big hole,” he added. “It’s something we all try to deal with.”

Karen Mobley, a local visual artist and public art consultant, said the fleet of life-size metal runners that comprise Joffier’s 1984 work The Pleasure of Running Together may be “one of the most successful works of public art in our region.” .

“It memorializes something really important to many, many people, but it’s also kind of taken from her own life where people use it as a way to interact and engage with the statue about other things besides Bloomsday,” Mobley said.

Pieces of Artist portfolio They can be found outside the walls and standing in front of many high schools across the state.

One of Joffier’s most famous works is the 2002 piece “Guardians of the Lake”, in which he worked with Keith Powell. The 25-foot, 800-pound metallic blades were installed on the Northwest Boulevard area of ​​Coeur d’Alene in May 2002.

With his previous 1989 work “Grandfather Cuts loose the Ponies,” 15 metal horses appear to be running along a ridge overlooking Interstate 90 in central Washington across the Columbia River. “Grandfather Cuts loose the Ponies” Unfinished: Govedare’s concept also called for horses to be featured in a 25,000-pound steel basket and 36 feet in diameter.

Fly said he hopes to see the statue, which has faced funding challenges, be completed one day.

He said, “He has little models of (the basket), of course, and he has all the dimensions and all the instructions on how to make it on hand for whoever does it. Maybe his son taught his son how to do it.”

Outside the Pacific Northwest, Govedare made the 1997 “Phoenix Fountain” statue located outside the Doyle Convention Center in Texas City, Texas. Another Texas city photo called “Somewhere on the Road,” which depicts the silhouette of a Native American on board pointing to the sky, was unveiled in 1999 in Bay Street Park.

Mobley, who has worked on a few projects with Govedare over the years, said much of his art is resourceful – as evidenced by his use of existing materials – and reflects his interests in Aboriginal communities, human form and gestures.

“I doubt there is hardly anyone driving from here to Seattle who is not familiar with their horses on those hills over Vantage Bridge,” she said. “David is a creative guy in terms of his work, but he’s also a likable person.”

Govedare, a California native, came to the Spokane area for an internship with an architect during Expo ’74. At the time, he was an architecture student at California Polytechnic.

Fly said the two met in the early 1970s at the former Goofy’s Tavern, where Fly was playing a show. Fly said he and Govdir have since become “closer than brothers”; Govedare designed the covers for Fly’s six albums, while Fly wrote the music for his sculptures.

“Oh my God, what a genius,” Fly said. “Just a wonderful artist and an extraordinary human being.”

Mobley described Goffdere as a “fantastic dancer”, saying he was always seen at blues festivals and the like where he was “the life of the party”.

“He had a lot of energy for that, especially when he was a little younger,” she said.

Fly said he plans to start a fundraising page to raise money to help maintain Govedare Farm in Chewelah that is partially occupied by the artist’s design studio.

“His legacy will undoubtedly live on,” said Fly. “He put himself in all his artwork, he put himself in all his personal relationships and he did it better than anyone. Shakespeare would find it hard to describe his scale.”

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