Want more public art? "SPACES" tour bringing 24 outdoor sculptures to Huntsville

Huntsville Times file photoHuntsville's Courthouse Square is the epicenter of a new sculpture tour aimed at improving the city's public art scene.

HUNTSVILLE, AL -- The most ambitious public art project in Huntsville's history will soon be unveiled downtown.

Borrowing a page from Chattanooga, local arts supporters plan to import as many as 24 outdoor sculptures that will be displayed across the city starting in December.

Created by artists from as far away as upstate New York, the pieces - some realistic, others abstract - will be sprinkled around the Courthouse Square and outside the Huntsville Museum of Art and Von Braun Center.

Others will grace the campuses of Alabama A&M University and the University of Alabama in Huntsville, as well as Lowe Mill Arts & Entertainment on Seminole Drive.

The nonprofit Arts Council Inc. is organizing a sculpture tour called "SPACES" to teach people about the sculptures and the artists who created them.

"Public art engages a community so greatly," Arts Council Executive Director Allison Dillon-Jauken said last week. "The benefit of a sculpture tour is that it gives the community an opportunity to live with the pieces for two years, then we're able to bring in new pieces."

Private supporters have donated about $50,000 to exhibit the sculptures through September 2012. Each artist is being paid a $1,000 honorarium for loaning their work, Dillon-Jauken said.

Other than the statue of the Confederate soldier outside the courthouse, downtown Huntsville has been conspicuously devoid of public art.

A "Creative Huntsville" cultural plan written in 2003 identified a need for more public art. But things didn't really get rolling until Big Spring Partners took more than 100 local leaders on a trip to Chattanooga with its artsy downtown.

The sculpture tour has been in the works for about nine months, Dillon-Jauken said.

Last week, the city's subdivision committee gave the thumbs-up to placing four sculptures around the courthouse. The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the idea at 5 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall, 308 Fountain Circle.

A piece titled "And This Is Hope," by artist Charles Brouwer of Willis, Va., is earmarked for the courthouse's south side in front of Papou's Greek Cuisine.

Carved from locust wood, it features two slightly-larger-than-life sculptures of a woman holding a little girl and a man carrying a little boy on his shoulders.

"Untitled (Soft II)," an abstract aluminum sculpture by University of Alabama associate art professor Craig Wedderspoon, is pegged for the east side of the courthouse.

The north side is getting a colorful mixed metal and wood piece by Greenville, N.C., artist Hanna Jubran, while Mobile artist Bruce Larsen is contributing "Grouper," a large fish made of found and recycled metal.

Larsen's fish sculpture will be placed on the west side of the courthouse between the old Regions Bank and Central Bank buildings, seemingly ready to leap into the Big Spring below.

"We were looking for pieces that would be accessible and provide diversity of content," Dillon-Jauken said. "Something that will draw you in."

She said the Arts Council, art museum, UAH, A&M and Lowe Mill are all involved in the "SPACES" effort. There will be docent-led walking tours, cell phone and GPS-guided tours and even a "People's Choice Award" to see which sculpture resonates most with the public.

Dillon-Jauken said the artwork is expected to start arriving early next month and should be completely installed by Dec. 2.

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  • What a beautiful sculpture!


    21. November, 2010 |

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