Take a drive along waterfront Manitou Beach Drive and you’ll likely notice an unusual flying machine resting in Linda Costello’s front yard. Entitled “Striding Gerromorpha,” after the water-striding insect, the sculpture was created out of metal, cedar, bike parts and wire by artist Patrick Farrell in 2004, and donated to a Bainbridge arts auction where Costello first saw it. Dramatically lit at the auction, the airplane-like work immediately amazed Costello, an artist and architect. She and 39 others purchased it together for a total cost of $4,000. Costello offered to hold the piece until it found a permanent home.
That was nine years ago. Strangers often approach Costello about the art and take pictures of it. Some have even picnicked on it. “A guy in a sleeping bag once slept on it. I brought him a cup of coffee in the morning,” Costello said. Visitors sign a guest book and record their reactions. Since the artist moves around a bit, Costello sends annual updates to his mom. Angled to catch the prevailing marine wind, the plane’s foil rotates and its two bench swings rock back and forth gently. Costello said that even 70 mph windstorms have not budged the structure from its place.
While the hand-built airplane has never crashed into anything— it can’t actually fly, after all—it has caused a few collisions. One year during Bainbridge’s Chilly Hilly ride, bicyclists taking second looks caused two different wrecks. Although she’s enjoyed hosting, Costello would consider donating the artwork to the city for a local park or for a common area.