Mysterious sculpture remains a puzzle for parks commissioners in El Dorado

A mysterious sculpture appeared at Lions Club Park a few years ago, and El Dorado Parks and Playgrounds Commissioners are still scratching their heads wondering who installed it.

The sculpture, painted in gold, appears to depict a woman seated in the lotus yoga pose. There is no plaque showing a title or naming the artist responsible for its creation, and Parks Commissioner Alexis Alexander said no one on the commission knows where he came from.

“It’s been around for a few years now, and it popped up out of the blue,” Alexander said on Friday. “It wasn’t something the Parks Commission asked for, although we liked the idea of ​​it being there.”

The sculpture is located on a small concrete slab and the curators recently noticed that it had been repainted. It is located along the newly renamed Leslie Ann Darden Trail, near the also newly dedicated Bart Reed Memorial Bench, which sits along the trail.

“It’s a bit off the track, so you can go there and think about it and go into a Zen meditation just looking at it,” Alexander said. “Whoever placed it wanted it to be a permanent fixture there… We appreciate it and appreciate that someone thought of this place so much and found it to be such a peaceful setting that they wanted it the low.”

Alexander said parks commissioners have started jokingly referring to the area where the statue stands as a “sculpture garden” and would be open to placing other suitable artwork around it.

“The Parks Commission would like to partner with the Center for the Arts (of Southern Arkansas) or any of the Arts in Education classes or any community organization that might want to come up with something that fits in a meaningful way. appropriate,” she said.

More cosmetic upgrades will likely be added in the coming years, Alexander said.

The 2.25-mile recreational trail was recently renamed in honor of Darden, after friends and family petitioned El Dorado City Council members to renew it. Darden died in May after a battle with breast cancer. She was a lab technician at SAMA and was well known for her passion for running, which earned her a qualification to run the 2020 Boston Marathon.

Fundraising is currently underway to erect a standalone memorial to Darden on the trail, and Alexander said landscaping will also likely be added along the trail.

“I think friends, family and colleagues of (Darden) are planning over the next few years to provide areas for wildflowers or trees that will also be a more permanent keepsake for her and her child to see. as she grows and I love that the community has embraced her,” she said.

As for the person who installed the sculpture, she said they could remain anonymous if they wished, but if they wish to come forward they can get in touch with a parks commissioner by calling Debbie Stinson at Eldorado. Office of Public Works, (870) 863-4244.

“If they want it to be anonymous, we’ll honor that, but we want to thank them for it and want to know if it’s their own artwork or if they have other artwork they could want to publish,” Alexander said.

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