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"Columbus, Indiana is a living architectural museum where you can see one of the largest collections of high- and late-modernist buildings in the country. There are 7 National Historic Landmarks and counting in a town of roughly 45,000 people. So this context -- a town landscaped by Dan Kiley and home to over 100 buildings and sites, by architects and designers including both Saarinens, Robert Venturi, Kevin Roche, and John Johansen among others -- is ripe for reinterpretation."
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Story and photos by Amy Lynch
You don't have to go very far in Columbus to get a taste of what the town is all about - namely, great art and architecture. Signing up for one of several tour options at the Visitors Center is certainly a fun and informative way to see what's what, but it's easy enough to simply stroll around and take in the town's more than 40 attractive public art offerings.
Walking through Columbus seeking out public art is like embarking on your very own private treasure hunt. The Visitors Center itself is actually a great place to start, where employees can offer helpful tips on do-it-yourself excursions. The facility is also home to the brilliant "Yellow Neon Chandelier and Persians" chandelier by Dale Chihuly hanging in the stairwell. The flower-like creation is visible through the front windows of the building; guests are welcome to come inside for a closer look and great photo ops from several angles.
Large-scale sculptures abound in Columbus, from the kinetic "Chaos I" masterpiece by Jean Tinguely housed in the Commons building to Jo Saylors' playful "Crack the Whip" bronze creation of four children chasing each other and Dessa Kirk's glorious "Eos," a tribute to the Greek winged goddess of the dawn. Renowned sculptor Henry Moore designed the looming arch that adorns the plaza outside the Bartholomew County Public Library, and a series of expansive murals grace the walls of Columbus buildings. And gearheads will want to stop in Cummins corporate headquarters to see Rudolph de Harak's intriguing "Exploded Engine" in the lobby. The landscaping outside is lovely, too.
Kids can even get in on the action with a visit to the hands-on Luckey Climber, also located within the Commons. At 35 feet tall, this is Columbus' largest (and perhaps most interactive) piece of public art. The public bike racks scattered throughout downtown also double as art with a colorful "C" design in keeping with the city's marketing efforts.
For more information about Columbus' vibrant collection of public art, call (800) 468-6564 or (812) 378-2622, or go to www.columbus.in.us.
Editor's note: The Columbus Area Arts Council's 2014 Sculpture Biennial will bring eight new sculptures to be installed in the Columbus Arts District in June. Additionally, a granite and limestone piece by local sculptor Martin Beach, commissioned by the Columbus Area Arts Council and the Columbus Museum of Art and Design, will be installed on the newly-refurbished space between the Columbus Visitors Center and the Bartholomew County Public Library. We can't wait to check out all of the new public art that will be added this summer!
Story by blogger Paige Harden
I recently attended the eighth annual Déjà Vu Art and Fine Craft Show in Columbus, and I have to say that I will never look at trash the same way again. Before this show I would have never used the word spectacular to describe empty soda cans, broken crayons, or hair rollers from my grandma’s generation. Having never attended a recycled art show, I was amazed by the magnificent pieces the artists created using once discarded items.
These incredibly talented artists took pre-existing materials, reinterpreted them and gave them an entirely new life as recycled art. I was in admiration of the quirky and beautiful ways these artists used Upcycling to turn everyday trash into creative treasures.
I loved each exhibit but I need to tell you about some of the artwork that really caught my attention.
Michael Hapner, aka the Cornbelt Cowboy, paints hundreds of spots and dots on everything from lamps and guitars to bicycles and saddles. The title of each piece is named after family, friends, current events, and life experiences. His passion lies in reducing the amount of trash in the landfill. He told me that he is famous for saying, “If you are going to throw it to the curb, I'm going to pick it up.” Hapner said his most popular items are his polka-dotted bicycles with saddles for seats. These whimsical bikes sell for $5,000 and he sells them by the dozens to art lovers as far away as Asia.
Lorie Maschino turns unwanted spoons and forks into beautiful jewelry. She creatively combines beads and sparkly jewels with various pieces of flatware to create gorgeous necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. My mom was so in awe of one of the bracelets that she bought it after just one look.
Flatware was a common theme at this year’s art show. Several artists put their own unique spin on how to make spoons desirable. One such artist had visitors huddled around his table the entire day. Gary Hovey began sculpting wildlife out of stainless steel flatware eight years ago. One of his most popular pieces, a gorilla, was created using more than 1,000 forks and weighs 105 pounds. Gary said his favorite sculptures are modeled after wildlife, including bears, elephants, and game fish. Where does he get all of his flatware? From his number one fan, his dad. Every month Gary’s dad visits numerous garage sales and flea markets and mails Gary a 50-pound box of flatware. In 1994, Gary was diagnosed with Parkinson ’s disease. Rather than viewing his debilitating disease as a burden, Gary focuses on the therapeutic nature of his work and says art gives him motivation to persevere.
The mother-daughter team of Karla Gauger and Audrey Barnes got their start in Upcycling when Karla’s son joined an environmental club in college. Karla said she got the motivation one weekend when her son brought home hundreds of soda cans to take to the recycling center. Today, Karla and Audrey create a wide range of products from aluminum cans, including earrings, headbands necklaces, and bracelets. It’s hard to imagine that these beautiful pieces were once someone’s trash.
I am now a major fan of recycled art and plan to attend the Déjà Vu show every year. I love the unique perspective these artists bring to the world! This show has inspired me to take a second look at those items I once thought of only as trash.