A Carson City sculptor wants to see something artistic standing next to the city's new bypass.
"I want to build a sculpture park that could be viewed from the freeway," said Matthew Welter, headmaster of Timeless Sculpture near the intersection of Carson Street and Highway 50 West. "That means the sculptures would be monumental in size."
He made his proposal at the Department of Transportation's meeting on the topic Thursday night at Fuji Park.
The property is important because of its prominent position, he said.
"It's a gateway to Nevada for travelers coming down from the lake and a gateway to Gardnerville and Minden," he said. "(The park) could stand as a statement, you know, 'We're not just selling cars,' 'We're not just casinos. 'We've got some class.'"
Welter has operated the sculpture studio and his apprentice program, The Knowledge Guild, in Carson since 2001, after moving from Lake Tahoe. He owned and operated a gallery in Kings Beach for 15 years.
The development of North Douglas County and a booming arts scene in Reno have motivated Welter to act on his vision.
"We have to counter that stuff somehow, or we'll get lost in the void," he said. "This is an opportunity to create a real flower in the desert."
Part of Welter's dream is create a monument called "Advance of Freedom" in the center of the park. Hewn from an American redwood log 12 feet in diameter and 40 feet tall, the sculpture would take years to finish.
The idea to create the massive sculpture -- mostly human forms signifying the struggle for liberty -- came to Welter after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
"It might not be finished in my lifetime," he said. "That's why I'm creating a network of artists to finish the project -- my apprentices."
The ongoing work would be part of the draw, he said, with visitors coming to watch artisans work. Welter said he was paid $2,000 recently at a private party to work on a large wooden sculpture with power tools.
"It was entertainment to them," he said. "They paid me with a smile and a thank you."
In another development at Timeless Sculptures and The Knowledge Guild, Welter has purchased a facility in Dayton with space for wax-casting studios and residential space for two apprentices.