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Grand Falls-Windsor could become home to Expo sculpture

It is hoped that a piece of history will be reconnected in Grand Falls-Windsor with its original home, after almost 50 years.

This sculpture titled “Glass Bush” was part of the Czechoslovakia Pavilion in Expo ’67 at the building which is now the Gordon Pinsent Centre for the Arts. The Town of Grand Falls-Windsor is awaiting an appraising on the piece, as the current owner is looking to donate it to put on display at the local centre. This photo was taken at Expo ‘67 and shows the sculpture on site where the local facility originally came from.

The town received a request for assistance from the Gordon Pinsent Centre for the Arts to acquire a piece of art with ties to the local Arts and Culture Centre building.

The piece is “Glass Bush” and it was outside the Czechoslovakian Pavilion in Montreal in 1967 when Canada hosted the World Expo.

“This piece of glass sculpture was outside the Czech pavilion, which is our Arts and Culture Centre,” said Councillor Peggy Bartlett, chair of the economic development, tourism and heritage committee.

According to the Arts and Culture Centre website, the story of the Gordon Pinsent Centre for the Arts building begins in Montreal as the Czechoslovakian Pavilion at Expo ’67, “Man and His World.”

The provincial government of the time in this province expressed an interested in the building, but was not first on the minds of the Czechoslovakian government.

In September of 1967, a Czechoslovakian airliner crashed on take-off at Gander International Airport. Thirty-two of the 69 people on board died instantly, and five others died later in hospital. Without the dedication of the rescue workers, and people from both Gander and Grand Falls-Windsor hospitals, more lives would have been lost.

After this, the province’s request to purchase may have been raised to the top of the list, and the J. R. Smallwood Government purchased the Pavilion, which was divided into two separate buildings with the restaurants and small theatre section re-assembled in Gander and the larger exhibition area rebuilt in Grand Falls.

Now, a piece of the art at that Pavilion in ‘67 is trying to get home.

“This lady had acquired it and she now want to donate it to the town, back to the place where it was commissioned for,” Bartlett said. “We said we would be willing to take it back provided that it’s no extra cost to the town.”

According to the request, for a couple of years they have been in negotiations with an individual who has requested a tax receipt for the value of the sculpture, which is where the town comes in.

The town requested an appraisal of the piece, which Bartlett described as a beautiful abstract sculpture.

“I think the for arts community it’s a beautiful display,” Bartlett said. “It has a piece of our Canadian history. How many people go to the Arts and Culture Centre and have never realized that was part of Expo ’67? I think it should have a befitting storyboard and a plaque telling its story. I think it’s exciting. In our little town we are sharing the part of the history of Expo ’67.”

As of the Advetiser deadline the town was awaiting the appraisal before moving forward.

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