Six works of public art have been selected for installation in downtown Owensboro from the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art’s recent exhibition, RIVERARTES: THE ART OF PLACEMAKING, a project being coordinated for the city by the museum.
The first installation in the public art project, a bronze figure of a Native American hunter, was installed in the museum’s Ryan Park earlier this week. Created by Loveland, Colorado artist Denny Haskew, the one and one-fourth life-sized bronze, entitled “Strength of the Maker,” is being leased for the RiverArtes project by Ann Murphy Kincheloe and will be on display in that park through October of 2016.
The sculpture complements the two mammoth bronze buffalo installed in Ryan Park which commemorate the origins of Owensboro. For centuries, thundering herds of buffalo created a path to the Ohio River, paving the way for settlers to enter the area and establish a community on the river’s bank.
Five additional works of public art, selected from the exhibition and supported by local sponsors, are scheduled to be installed in a variety of locations in the downtown area within the next two months.
The second installation, “Harvest Dreams,” planned for Riverfront Crossing, is a life-size family group featuring a father, mother and child of agrarian heritage, celebrating a fruitful season. The life-size bronze by George Lundeen, Loveland, Colorado, will be placed at the top of a concrete walkway facing Veterans Boulevard and is expected to be completed in mid- to late November.
The performing arts are spotlighted in the sculpture “Celebration,” a life-size bronze of a young dancer which will be installed at the southern end of the northernmost island on Daviess Street between 2nd Street and Veterans Boulevard near the RiverPark Center. The sculpture, by Gary Alsum, also of Loveland, Colorado and a member of the National Sculptors’ Guild, is being sponsored by Dr. William Jansing and Dr. R. Wathen Medley, Jr. The installation is scheduled to take place in late November and will be on exhibit through November 2016.
“Transformation,” a massive bronze and aluminum construction of contemporary design, has been selected for placement at the Owensboro Convention Center and was created by Fisher Stolz of Washington, Illinois. The monumental sculpture, recently exhibited in Chicago’s Grant Park, complements the contemporary architecture of the center and is being sponsored by Owensboro resident, Tim Ebelhar.
Two limestone carvings by two Kentucky sculptors are scheduled for installation in the riverfront area and are being purchased for the city’s downtown sculpture program by the Marilyn and William Young Charitable Foundation. The works are by Meg White and Don Lawler.
“Escape,” a stone carving celebrating Kentucky’s equestrian heritage, depicts a yearling emerging from a limestone block and was carved by White, a partner in the Lawler-White Sculpture Studio and Sculpture Gardens near Stephensport, Kentucky. The sculpture will be installed in the riverfront area later this year.
“Oberon,” a whimsical depiction of the “King of the Fairies,” a Shakespearean character from the play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” will be installed in Mitch McConnell Plaza. Carved by Lawler, also of the Stephensport firm, the sculpture is one of the two gifts from the Young Foundation.
RIVERARTES: THE ART OF PLACEMAKING was an exhibition designed by the museum to assist the city with the acquisition of public art through a rotating lease program which would acquire sculpture for two-year periods.
The program offered community sponsors an opportunity to select works of art from an exhibition of more than 75 maquettes and large photographs of sculpture by professional artists from across the country. Each sponsor supports the two-year lease arrangement and the artists provide installation and transportation to and from the site. At the end of the lease period, the works of art will be returned to the artists or may be purchased for permanent installation. RIVERARTES: THE ART OF PLACEMAKING is planned as a biennial event and will occur again on the museum’s exhibition schedule in early 2016.