Give Pandosy Public Art Project A Helping Hand

Crystal Przybille is selling maquettes of her Father Pandosy sculpture and accepting donations as she nears completion of the six-foot piece of public art.

Jennifer Smith

Crystal Przybille could not have been calmer as she carefully maneuvered the six-foot Father Charles Pandosy sculpture around the studio.

With the garage door walls flung open to the snowy scene outside, the day was just as one imagines most of her time in the cozy Rotary Centre for the Arts studio to be, with pictures and sketches and articles of her project hung neatly behind her likeness of the great man himself.

As serene as this nook of creativity seemed, however, one big source of stress weighed on the artist’s shoulders.

“We still need to raise the money for that last 20 per cent of the budget,” she said with some urgency.

Przybille’s incredible public art masterpiece is now on its way to the foundry for bronzing, though the artist has yet to complete fundraising.

Some 20 maquettes—small bronze replica statues, signed by the artist—are still available to the public for purchase at $5000 a piece.

The figures will help prop up the budget, though Przybille is also hoping for donations given the magnitude of the work.

Father Pandosy has become a folk hero in the Okanagan and the statues, which play on his unique ability to forage a relationship with the Syilx speakers in the area, incorporate representations of the four food chiefs— bear representing hunted meat, salmon for food from water, Saskatoon berry for food from the soil and bitterroot for food from the earth.

The Pandosy likeness was created to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Pandosy’s mission, Immaculate Conception Mission, the first Euro-Canadian settlement in the Okanagan Valley.

“A lot of cities have sculptures of historical figures represented for tourists, and so that the general public can get a sense of the identity of the community,” Przybille told the **Capital News** early summer as she hit a mid-point on the clay sculpting process.

Pandosy is quite a unique figure among pioneers. Standing six-foot, four inches tall, though he lived from 1824 to 1891, the Catholic priest is known for establishing the first orchards in the valley, putting in the first vines for grapes, and building relations with the First Nations communities throughout the Okanagan.

Przybille has kept an incredible blog at of her work as she attempts to create a bronze likeness to tell the tale; and the work has received endorsements from the City of Kelowna, Westbank First Nation, Tourism Kelowna and the Central Okanagan Heritage Society to name but a few.

When it is complete, the bronze figure will sit on the Thompson farm, now the H2O Centre property, as part of the city’s public art collection.

Information on donating to the project can be found at or by emailing Przybille at

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