SOUTH BURLINGTON – Vermont artist Jim Sardonis is asking the city of South Burlington to excavate the land around Reverence, his famous whale sculpture that can be seen by vehicles driving on Interstate Highway 89 between exits 12 and 13. Sardonis is concerned that the two statues of whales that he created in 1989 have been slowly sinking into the the ground, such that only the tails are now visible.
“It’s a real problem,” Sardonis told our reporter earlier this week. “The city put the whales up, but didn’t install enough support infrastructure and now the statues, which weigh over three tons each, are sinking into the earth. I’m worried that in a few years they will be gone completely. We need to dig them out and put them back up on top of the hill so that they can be seen again. Some people apparently don’t even know that they are more than just tails!”
This is not the first time South Burlington has had a problem with sinking landmarks. The famous tower of filing cabinets has been sinking at a rate of one cabinet per year, and is now only only around 25 cabinets tall, down from its original 58. And though not a landmark, there have consistently been problems at the University Mall food court with restaurants sinking into the earth. Taco Bell was swallowed up a few years ago and has not been replaced.
South Burlington city officials have come forward to say that, because the whale art is on private land owned by Ben & Jerry’s, there is nothing they can do to stop the statues from sinking, and they do not have the rights to dig them up in any way. Representatives from Ben & Jerry’s were not available for comment.