Red Star Studio’s Joe Barrington, the sculptor selected to build the new Blue Crab, was introduced to the public during a meet and greet Wednesday, Jan. 29 at the Aquarium at Rockport Harbor Education Center.
He was selected as the Blue Crab artist following a request for proposal (RFP) process.
“He knows you can’t put up paper maché and expect it to last,” said Blue Crab Committee Chairman and Keep Aransas County Beautiful (KACB) Vice Chairman John Aquilino. “He’s promised this will be a two-ton crab.”
Barrington will sculpt the crab out of varying thicknesses of stainless steel (12 gauge to 3/16 inch). The topsides of each piece will be powder coated.
“It’s not going to sound like a tin can,” he said.
Barrington started out as a welder as a young child, eventually started taking art classes, and ended up with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Sculpture and Print Making from Midwestern State University
“I came in with a blank slate as far as being an artist,” said Barrington.
He said a friend of his showed him the call for RFPs, which was published in the newspaper. Barrington lives in Throckmorton in northwest Texas.
He said the Blue Crab will be ready to be installed within 18 months.
“My goal is that you get more than you bargained for,” said Barrington “That has been the case in my career.
“I want (my art) to entertain you when you look at them. It doesn’t have to have a deep social statement.”
Once the pieces of the Blue Crab are completed, they will be transported to the site at the south end of Little Bay, and installed.
The 25-foot wide Blue Crab will be hoisted onto three sturdy legs. Removable straps/anchors will be attached to the mammoth sculpture when future storms threaten the area.
It will be positioned at about the same height as the former Blue Crab, which was destroyed by Hurricane Harvey.
“We’ll work on what angle to place it so it doesn’t act like a sail (in the wind),” said Barrington.
His work is on display across the country. He is currently working on a huge stainless steel African Bull Elephant and a 30-foot-tall horseshoe. One can see examples of his work at www.redstarstudio.com.
KACB President D’Ann Williams noted Barrington’s Blue Crab costs $135,000. The ACND will also receive $5,000 for long-term maintenance.
“We have made a $40,000 down payment,” she said. “We are selling bricks, taking pledges, and looking at foundations for the remaining funds.”
One can purchase a Memorial Brick in two sizes. They will be placed as a pathway to and around the Blue Crab.
A 4” x 8” memorial brick costs $65.
An 8” x 8” memorial brick costs $125.
To date 169 families have bought bricks totaling almost $12,000.
KACB board member Amanda Wilson started the brick program.
Aquino noted the bricks will be used as a walkway to the Blue Crab, as well as around the sculpture.
“It will be almost like a meditation garden,” he said.
Williams noted right after Harvey Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McCombs donated $5,000 of his mayoral FEMA monies to kick off funding to get the Blue Crab back.
The Shaw family has also pledged $25,000 toward its construction. That pledge is not included in the $40,000 paid Barrington for the first installment.
Members of the Blue Crab Committee are Aquilino, Don Aboff, Sue Bonnar, Stephen Gregory, David Herring, Debbie Parker, Neli Spurrell, Richard Trejo, and Kam Wagert. Herring, Wagert, and Diana Harrington were recognized as members of the 2010 committee, which was responsible for raising the funds for the previous crab.
Most of the funds raised to date were raised through silent auctions at Winery on the Bay.
Fundraising efforts began almost immediately after Hurricane Harvey.
To make a donation or purchase a brick, contact Williams at 210-8300 or visit kacbtx.org.