A new metal sculpture stands on 10-foot stilts to welcome drivers entering Moscow from the north on U.S. Highway 95.

“The Homecoming” — located on the couplet of North Main and C streets — is an homage to the scenic rolling hills of the Palouse and the genial nature of the people who inhabit the area.

Designed and built by Tacoma-based artist-duo Jennifer Corio and David Frei of Cobalt Designworks, the sculpture’s two-day installation process was completed Wednesday.

The Moscow Arts Commission selected the couple’s project last year after three finalists presented their idea proposals for the commission’s public art call back in November

When Corio was brainstorming design ideas to propose for the project, she knew she wanted to incorporate elements of the Palouse’s unique scenery.

“I already knew I wanted to do something with the hills, because every time I come here, I’m so enamored with the Palouse and its rolling hills — it’s just jaw-dropping,” Corio said.

The sculpture is also intended to symbolize the welcoming culture of Moscow, according to Corio.

“As you hit downtown Moscow there’s this sense of slowing down, of coming home,” she said. “Birds, which are very social creatures, become a metaphor for Moscow residents, visitors and passersby,” reads a statement published by the artists on the City of Moscow website, “The sitting birds are taking a break from the busyness, enjoying each other, people watching, feeling a sense of community and a sense of belonging.”Out of the dozens of public art projects and private commissioned pieces the pair has completed, this one holds a particularly special meaning because they’ve always considered Moscow a home-away-from-home.“I grew up here, and having a piece in my home town is super cool,” Frei said.Frei graduated from Moscow High School in 1976 and went on to earn an engineering degree from the University of Idaho in 1985.He met Corio 25 years ago when they both worked for Hewlett-Packard

The pair launched their custom metal work business in 2007. Together, they use their respective strengths to build one-of-a-kind pieces — Corio envisions and designs the pieces and Frei brings them to life through engineering.

“We have created several iconic pieces for Pacific Northwest communities that evoke a sense of a place and have become popular photo opportunities and distinctive landmarks for these cities,” Corio wrote on the Cobalt Designworks website.The City of Moscow’s public art collection began in the 1990s and is supported by a “1 percent for the Arts” fund established by ordinance in 2004.A Public Art Master Plan was established in 2015 and serves as a framework for the city’s growing collections of both temporary and permanent public art.When a new public art installation is approved, a collaborative committee composed of city arts staff and the Moscow Arts Commission creates an artist call announcement and posts it publically. From there, finalists are chosen and a voting process determines the final project selection.

For more information, www.ci.moscow.id.us/218/Public-Art.

Ellen Dennis is the news clerk at the Daily News. She can be reached at (208) 883-4632 or by email at briefs@dnews.com

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