By Jano Tantongco
Fair Meadow Park in Huntington is now home to two welded steel sculptures from prominent Fort Salonga sculptor David Haussler, who donated them to the Town of Huntington.
Haussler, who has been sculpting since 1978, has been battling aggressive forms of cancer that have affected his esophagus and liver, he said Wednesday.
Normally a resolution would have to be implemented by the town board, but the state of Haussler’s health prompted the town to act quickly in placing the artworks, with a retroactive resolution to be proposed at the next board meeting on March 14, according to town spokesman A.J. Carter.
Regarding the two works, 61-year-old Haussler described “Fan Fare” as bringing architecture interest to the area, but also as a critique on sometimes undue enthusiasm for trite artwork. On the second, “Water Twist,” he recalled a tranquil moment where he was in the bay on the South Shore.
“When I was out on the ocean, I would lay looking at the sun, and it would create a whole band of colors, mostly blue,” Haussler said.
The prolific sculptor founded Long Island Professional Sculptors and Supporters, an organization dedicated to promoting sculpture awareness throughout Long Island by expanding spaces for sculptors, advocating public art projects, developing alternative show sites and ensuring public art projects are undertaken by qualified artists.
Looking back on his career, he felt most proud of his sculpture depicting the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center for his WTC Remembrance Project, describing it as “a moment frozen in time.”
He said the piece has been traveling since 2002, alongside a book of more than 10,000 written thoughts on the tragic event. He hopes that the piece, now in his Fort Salonga studio, will eventually find a permanent home.
“Over his distinguished career, David Haussler has contributed much to art and art education in our community and to helping set the standards for public art in the Town,” Huntington Supervisor Frank Petrone stated in a news release. “All Huntington residents thank him for donating these two pieces, which will serve as a fitting legacy.”
Haussler’s wife, Theresa Merlucci, said that in founding LIPSS her husband started a movement to have sculpture “be significant on Long Island as an artform.”
She added, “He does it because he believes that it inspires people to look within and to look outside of themselves as well. Art has always been inspiring for him.”