Smile Politely

A big year awaits for Urbana public art

Pictured to the right is Fanfare, a sculpture by Bowling Green State sculpture department head Shawn Morin. It was installed on the south side of the Iron Post last Friday, the first of four public art sculptures which will be placed in different locations around Urbana in 2010 as part of the Urbana Sculpture Project.

“The Urbana Public Arts Commission launched the Urbana Sculpture Project earlier this year,” said Anna Hochhalter, Urbana Public Arts Coordinator. “It’s part of the city’s larger goal to include more public art in public spaces, and to create a city where its residents can engage with public arts in all of its forms.”

Fanfare and the other three pieces — Bench 9, by Barry Hehemann, Landing, by Cecilia Lueza, and Prism Arc Vi by Carl Billingsley — were chosen from 98 submissions by artists around the country, through a process involving two separate juries. The rest of the pieces are scheduled to be installed in May 2010.

The installation of Fanfare was the culmination of several years of preparation. “[The Iron Post patio area] was renovated in 2002,” Hochhalter explained. “When it was redesigned, they anticipated placing a sculpture into the location, so this location has been waiting for a piece since 2002. We’re really glad that we finally have the resources and capacity to put a piece in.”

Hochhalter continued, “The jury selected this piece specifically for this location because they felt the materials would work really well with the existing materials in the courtyard… It’s tall enough to see from a distance, but it wouldn’t loom over the crowd that uses the patio.”

Morin delivered the piece himself last Friday, February 19, and Urbana Public Works employees completed the installation under his supervision. Hochhalter has been pleased with the response so far. “All of the people that have talked to me say things like, ‘It looks really great with the space,’ and there’s been a really positive reaction.”

She especially enjoyed discussing Fanfare with the installation crew. “They weren’t familiar with the piece before, and don’t necessarily have a background in the arts, so I enjoyed hearing their reactions,” Hochhalter related. “They thought it was really nice.”


Above is Bench 9, by Barry Hehemann, which will be installed along Green Street near the Urbana Free Library. Hochhalter explained, “People are actually encouraged to sit on and use the bench. People will be able to check out a book and sit on it outside.

“It’s in a location that will be renovated into more of a park. Right now, it doesn’t stand out as a public space, and making it more welcome to the public to use.”

Landing, by Cecilia Lueza, will be located on the southeast corner of Philo and Florida. Hochhalter said, “[Landing] was selected because the location is on the way to a school, and it’s across the street from an assisted-living home with elderly people. The jury thought that both people going to school and people living in that location would enjoy thinking about childhood. It’s a fun piece.”

Finally, there’s Prism Arc Vi, at right, by Carl Billingsly, which will be located at the northeast corner of Philo and Colorado Ave. Along with Landing, it’s part of the Philo Ave. Beautification Project. Prism Arc Vi is an eight-foot-tall steel sculpture.


I’m curious to hear your thoughts on the Urbana Sculpture Project in general and these pieces in particular, and I’m sure Ms. Hochhalter is also. Please share them in the comments.







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