Lord Ganesha sculpture in downtown Coeur d’Alene in Idaho, USA

Hindus have welcomed Lord Ganesha sculpture as a part of Coeur d’Alene (Idaho, USA) public art display. Applauding the City of Coeur d’Alene for this gesture, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Connecticut (USA) today, called it “a step in the right direction”.

Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that this public display of Lord Ganesha would bring more inclusivity in religion and help create a unity that celebrated diversity. Moreover, Ganesha’s presence is always considered auspicious, Zed adds.

Created by Spokane metal artist Rick Davis, this “Ganesha” is part of “ArtCurrents”, the Coeur d’Alene public art display, being dedicated today in a ceremony officiated by Mayor. Besides Ganesha, other 13 sculptures being dedicated today, which will remain in place for a year or until sold, reportedly include St. Francis of Assisi and a Native-American-themed “spirit bear” representing harmony/peace.

Kootenai County Constitution Party has termed it as “abomination” and is protesting against it. Coeur d’Alene is county seat of Kootenai County.

Sandi Bloem, Wendy Gabriel, Susan Weathers, and Steve Anthony are the Mayor, City Administrator, City Clerk,  and Recreation Director of City of Coeur d’Alene respectively; while Fred Ogram is Chairman of its Arts Commission, a 12-member panel appointed by the Mayor. Guiding Principle of Coeur d’Alene Arts Commission is to “Select artworks of sufficient scale to capture public attention. Make an impression.”

“Coeur d’Alene now dedicates 1.33% of the total cost of all eligible capital improvement projects to fund art in public places. The purpose of the public art program is to integrate a wide range of public art into the community and reflect the diversity of communities, artistic disciplines, and points of view”, according to a brochure.

In Hinduism, elephant-headed Lord Ganesha is worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking.

Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.

Coeur d’Alene, founded in 1878 and known as “Lake City”, is home to the second largest metropolitan area in Idaho. Broadcast journalist Barbara Walters reportedly described the city as “a little slice of Heaven”. Its Christmas lighting display is claimed to be among the largest in USA. Notable people associated with Coeur d’Alene include actress Patty Duke, martial artist Trevor Prangley, television producer-director Charles Sellier, etc.

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