Controversial "Windy Man" sculpture returns to Lubbock
June 16, 2011 at 7:00 PM CDT - Updated June 24 at 10:12 AM
The "Windy Man" relief carving that was installed along the Marsha Sharp Freeway in August of 2004 was the center of intense controversy before it was removed.
Today, Windy Man is back.
The panel was one of 20 scheduled to line the new freeway in 2004. But just days after it was installed, the sculpture drew criticism.
The piece inspired a number of people to write several letters to the Texas Department of Transportation and even Governor Rick Perry calling for the removal of what some said was a "pagan" image and a negative depiction of Lubbock as a windy city.
On August 13th, 2004, vandals defaced the sculpture with a sledgehammer. As a result, TxDOT decided to take down the sculpture which cost about $750 to install.
Now, seven years later, TxDOT has decided to put their one remaining "Windy Man" panel back up where the Marsha Sharp Freeway meets Ave L.
"It just looks like a cloud to me - looks like something you'd see in a children's book," Church of Christ Minister, Rodney Thomas said.
"I personally don't have a problem with it," Lubbock resident Raleigh Rodriguez said.
TX-Dot says they decided to put it back up as a representation of sculptures in the arts. "We had it here so we incorporated it into the arts wall to kind of reflect instead of the wind blowing, more of a sculptural aspect of the arts in West Texas," TX DOT, Supervisor Steve Warren said.
So is it offensive to religion? We asked the minister what he thought. "No, I've been all over Europe and they've got a lot worse than that on the walls so I don't have a problem with it," Minister Thomas explained.
The Department of Transportation says they tried to strategically place the "Windy Man" where he wouldn't be vandalized again. "We did put it up quite a bit higher up on the wall so nobody could get to it," Warren said.
TX DOT says they only plan to put up one Windy Man and hope the public understands it is only intended to represent art.@