RIVERARTES, a showcase of proposals for public art by sculptors of national and regional prominence, opens at the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art, Saturday, August 23.
Mayor Ron Payne is scheduled as the featured speaker at the 6:30 p.m. event and will discuss the function of public art as a creative placemaking effort and how it can serve to further establish Owensboro as a cultural tourism destination.
Seventy-five proposals for monumental works of art showcased in the exhibition are by artists from 22 states. The sculpture, offered for lease for two-year periods, includes a wide selection of subjects, media and styles. Featured are realistic life-size bronzes and stone carvings, whimsical and entertaining representations of animals and mammoth abstract constructions in steel, glass and mixed media.
The RIVERARTES initiative follows a national model for collaborative projects in cities across the country implemented by stakeholders interested in the aesthetic enhancements of their communities. Potential sponsors for leased sculpture traditionally include local governments, public granting agencies, private developers, businesses and individuals, civic organizations and foundations.
RIVERARTES, organized for the city by the local art museum, began more than 18 months ago with a call for proposals issued to artists, sculpture guilds and galleries across the country. Criteria for selection for entries for the exhibition included quality of craftsmanship; maintainability; structural and surface soundness; attention to historical, geographic and cultural content and appropriateness for public placement.
Each artist whose work is selected for installation will receive a stipend of $2,500 per year for the two-year lease and must be responsible for transport and installation to and from the site. Sites are selected by the sponsors who provide sculpture pads, lighting, and insurance of the art during the lease period. The sculpture may be placed in the downtown and riverfront areas or on the site of the sponsor.
Opportunities for selections by local sponsors will continue through the ending date of the exhibition October 26. Installation of the works selected may begin at any time as determined by the sponsors after contracts are signed and sites prepared. Potential sponsors may view the exhibition of proposals during regular museum hours or after hours by appointment.
RIVERARTES complements the expanding collection of public art at sites throughout the community, including three recent installation at the Owensboro Convention Center and installations of bronze and mixed media sculpture at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, acquired through the 2011 invitational exhibition, RIVER COUNTRY, organized by the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art.
Four major installations at the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art along Frederica Street feature the works of nationally known artists. These include two heroic-sized bronze buffalo which were commissioned to initiate the BRONZE BUFFALO TRACE, a visual arts documentation designed to celebrate the origins of Owensboro. Present-day Frederica Street began as a buffalo trace through which settlers made their way to the banks of the Ohio River to establish the settlement of Yellow Banks.
The bronze buffalo, Into the Wind and Meadowlands Pair, were gifts to the museum and the community from Mary Lou Steele and her late husband, Robert Steele, and Ron and Denise Payne, respectively. They were sculpted by the noted Western artist, T. D. Kelsey.
Billow, a cor-ten steel construction at the front entrance of the art museum, is by celebrated Kentucky sculptor Jack Youngerman, and depicts the flow of the Ohio River. The sculpture was featured in the artist’s one-man show at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City.
The Owensboro Museum of Fine Art is located at the corner of 9th and Frederica streets in Owensboro, Kentucky and is open Tuesday through Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.; and weekends, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Admission is free but donations are encouraged. For more information, visit the museum’s website, www.omfa.us or phone 270-685-3181.