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Peoria's 'Sonar Tide' Sculpture Getting A Much Needed Makeover

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Courtesy Andrea Tortora

The seminal "Sonar Tide" sculpture outside the Peoria Civic Center is getting a big makeover.

When minimalist sculptor Ronald Bladen first visited Peoria, two things caught his eye: the Illinois River bend, and the city's heavy industrial presence.

"The combination of taking a simplistic form that is really elemental, and creating it for a town that has that kind of history was important to him," said Fisher Stolz, a local artist and Bradley University professor.

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Courtesy Andrea Tortora
Fisher Stolz pressure washing the top of the Sonar Tide sculpture in front of the Peoria Civic Center.

Stolz is working with his colleague Jaci Willis to restore the iconic 1983 sculpture back to its original state after nearly four decades of weathering.

The project is funded by a $45,000 contribution from the Junior League of Peoria. Christina Robinson is the group's president.

"I just think 'Sonar Tide' is a great way for our community to showcase art and sculpture," Robinson said. "It's an easy way to see art in the community without necessarily needing to go to a museum or some other location."

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Courtesy Andrea Tortora
Jaci Willis applying rust converter to the Sonar Tide sculpture in downtown Peoria.

Stolz sayid he and Willis have put about 300 hours into the restoration project over the last month. But they aren't done yet.

"The paint is at a point where it just needed to cure, and then we're going to go back and look for any minor imperfections," he said.

Phase II will add new landscaping and lighting to complement the sculpture.

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