Visitors to Windermere’s Central Park might notice something new that wasn’t there before, thanks to the generosity of a long-time town resident.
Just beyond the picnic pavilion is a brand-new, bronze statue of a boy and his dog, a golden retriever, playing fetch with a stick. Called “Golden Games,” the piece is the handiwork of Floridian painter and sculptor W. Stanley Proctor.
The statue could be considered a companion piece to the one that was installed 16 years ago at the Windermere branch library. Called “Summertime Read,” that sculpture depicts a boy lying on his stomach with a book in hand. Not only was it created by the same artist, but it also was a donation from the same resident, John Nabers.
Nabers, who said he has lived in Windermere since the first grade, finds great joy in art, nature and animals. He loves Proctor’s work, and he also loves the town he’s called home for decades. When he decided to donate “Summertime Read” 16 years ago, it was very well received.
“I just wanted to do something else to sort of leave something with the family name that would be beneficial to the town,” he said. “This park is such a great park, and it seemed like a good subject matter for the park, because I see people with dogs and kids running around in the park here. It was just sort of a spur-of-the-moment thing.”
When Nabers had the idea last fall to donate the “Golden Games” statue to the town, he started by taking the idea to the Parks & Recreation Committee. The committee members were thrilled.
“We were so excited,” said Nora Brophy, chair of the committee. “We were just thrilled. It’s a beautiful statue, and it’s just going to make this park such a diamond for the town. This park is just going to be spectacular. We’ve been working really hard for the past couple of years on our parks to improve them and make them better.”
The committee gave its blessing for the statue to be installed and took it to the Town Council for final approval, which was received in December.
Since the Town Council gave the project the green light, Nabers said, it has been a matter of working out the details between the town and the foundry where the statue was located. They poured a concrete slab in Central Park to host the statue, waited for it to cure and painted it a natural, terra cotta color.
“I’m tremendously appreciative of the support from the parks and recreation committee and the town in allowing me to bring this idea to fruition — and for them to like the idea and feel it’s going to be an improvement to the town. We all can appreciate and enjoy it. … I think the statue and all the amenities just fit together perfectly. … It’s worthy of being in Windermere.”
“It’s an incredibly beautiful amenity in the park, and it’s something that as a committee we would never have been able to achieve,” Brophy said. “All the money we get as a committee goes into swings and benches and hardscape and tennis courts. It’s a spectacular piece of art in our park that we can all appreciate that would never have been here if it weren’t for John.”