DescriptionArt is hidden in plain sight throughout Spokane, Washington. On the river side of the opera house stands a twenty-foot lantern-shaped cement statue of intertwining geometric designs. If you were allowed to climb to the top (and you are not), you could look down inside and see the artist's message inscribed at the base.
The Lantern's outstanding sculpting was designed by Harold Balazs. Balazs was born in Ohio in 1928. The artist received hands-on experience working in his father's sheet metal and air conditioning business where he developed metal fabrication skills working with complex shapes. In 1951, he teamed up with artist Patrick Flammia to produce a mural for the Ridpath Hotel in Spokane. This was the first of countless alliances with architects and business leaders for commissioned work in public buildings. His ingenuity revived the importance of the individual craftsman in architecturally integrated art through collaborations with important regional architects.
By the mid-1960s, Harold Balazs had become the leading artist in the Northwest, often incorporating enamel on steel works. The Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture owns thirty works by Harold Balazs.
In an interview in 2005, artist Harold Balazs, has said of his creations: "I don't think it's important what it is we make, but I think we just need to decorate the world and cause surprises. Too much importance is placed on the interpretation of art. He believes his duty, and that of all artists, is to create a sense of wonder through their work. The one thing that runs through the work that I consider my most serious stuff is the idea of juxtaposing disparate ideas. This is a very complex world. This disparate quality of life in the world today -- we need to start getting along with each other. I try to express that idea -- disparate ideas can get along. And it's nothing more complicated than that."