Moving the Pieces into Place

Riparian by Amanda C. Vandenberg

Riparian by Amanda C. Vandenberg

By mid-summer of 2016, Harrison West will be celebrating a new, major work of art in Harrison Park. That’s if everything continues to move along as smoothly as it has so far.

Wanting to continue build on its history of including public art in the neighborhood, the Harrison West Society allocated $30,000 toward commissioning a significant work to complete the original vision of Harrison Park. Mayor Michael Coleman recently established funding to support such projects, and from that fund, the city has thrown in an additional $60,000 for the project. With funding secured, the society needed to find the artist.

The neighborhood’s past successes acquiring public art through calls to artists and neighborhood-wide voting suggested that a similar process would be equally successful. In November 2014, Lori Baudro and Christine Leed from the Columbus Department of Development issued a call inviting Ohio artists interested in the project to submit their qualifications. Twenty-one qualified artists submitted their credentials, and on January 26, 2015, volunteers from Harrison West, along with representatives from the Columbus Art Commission, the Recreation and Parks Department and the Department of Development, met to select three finalists. Jon Barlow Hudson, Todd Kime and Xan Palay have all agreed to submit proposals by mid-June. City staff will review their proposals for safety, placement, budget and maintenance considerations before showing the proposals to the public.

The Harrison West Society and the city are considering making a change to the voting process that the neighborhood has used in the past. Rather than relying solely on a one-day, in-person vote, the team is considering adding online voting to the selection process. After several weeks of online voting, the society would hold a final day of in-person voting followed by an open house at which the winning proposal would be announced. The details for the voting process are being worked out now, but the team expects that a finalist will be selected in early August. The Columbus Art Commission will vet the winning proposal before construction of the work begins.

As part of the original plans, Wagenbrenner Development installed a pad to receive Harrison Park’s fifth and final sculpture at Harrison Park Place adjacent to the Funk-ee-Town playground. Artists may suggest an alternate site in the park, but if the Harrison West Society and the Department of Development approve the change, the artist would be required to use part of the overall project budget to remove the existing pad and restore the lawn. The team is looking forward to seeing the new work in place by mid-summer 2016.

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