Courtesy Photo Main Street Siloam Director Kelsey Howard (left) poses with two city workers following the installation of the heron sculpture.

Siloam Springs art lovers can go downtown to view four new sculptures commissioned by the Main Street program.

The metal sculptures, installed on Nov. 26, depict a heron, a bicycle, John Brown University’s Cathedral of the Ozarks, and the city’s iconic gazebo. Two sculptures are placed on opposite sides of the intersection of Broadway Street and Alpine Street, and two are placed on opposite sides of the intersection of Broadway Street and East Central Street.

The sculptures were designed by David Andrus, a JBU professor of visual arts, and built by Alternative Design, according to Kelsey Howard, director of Main Street Siloam Springs. They were installed by city employees.

The idea for the sculptures took shape in 2016, when City Administrator Phillip Patterson emailed Howard about the possibility of placing metal sculptures in downtown Siloam Springs, according to Howard. The idea came from Patterson’s time as assistant city manager and community development director in Lafayette, Colo., Patterson said.

The idea was still in the planning stages in January of 2017 when Andrus emailed Howard to tell her he had the opportunity to apply for the Charles Peer Endowed Chair, according to Howard.

Andrus ended up receiving the appointment, which allows a professor to be released from a certain number of classes, yet not lose their salary, so he can work on a project for the betterment of the community. Andrus submitted 10 digital designs to Howard for the sculptures. Of the 10 designs, four were chosen, he said.

Howard had already met with Alternative Design, the company that would build the sculptures.

“They showed some things that they were really proud of and one of them was a sign that they had done taking a photo and turning it into this beautiful metal silhouette and it made me think of Dave’s artwork, which he does digitally, and they’re beautiful and I thought ‘what if we translated that into metal,'” Howard said.

Howard started a conversation with Andrus in early 2017 about the possibility of turning his digital drawings into metal, and he was excited about the idea. The difficult part was finding a balance between maintaining the integrity of Andrus’ designs and creating a sculpture that was safe and beautiful, she said. Howard credits Alternative Design with helping to find that balance.

The sculptures will be up until autumn of 2020 and then they will be installed somewhere else in the downtown area, she said. The sculptures for next fall will come from the University of Arkansas School of Art.

NAN What’s Up on 12/22/2019

Print Headline: Art for art’s sake

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