COVID-19 concerns may have canceled the First Friday Art Walks for this year, but area residents can soon take their own outdoor art walk, thanks to a project sponsored by the Northwest Territory Art Guild.
The First City Public Sculpture Exhibition, slated for completion this fall, will present seven outdoor sculptures by artists from across the nation.
On Friday, two of the exhibit’s large sculptures were delivered to Vincennes by their creators — one from Indianapolis and another traveling all the way from Hood, Oregon.
A year ago, the local art guild, a non-profit organization located at 316 Main St., selected Amy DeLap and Andrew Jendrzejewski — both retired Vincennes University art professors and the owners of Art Space Vincennes LLC — to lead the First City Public Sculpture Exhibition.
Thanks, in part, to both a grant from the Indiana Arts Council and a financial gift from the Vincennes City Council, DeLap and Jendrzejewski were able to put out a national call to artists for large sculpted works to be installed at sites around the city.
Jendrzejewski says they were very pleased with the 25 proposals submitted from all over the United States.
Using a high traffic online arts platform to reach artists across the nation, DeLap said they received sculpture proposals from artists living as far away as New Jersey, Colorado and Oregon. In fact, only one submission was from an Indiana artist.
Amid COVID-19 closures, local art galleries have been working on other ways of bringing art engagement to the community. Along with offering virtual art opportunities, the four galleries came together to create the First City Public Sculpture Exhibition 2020.
“It really is a great substitute for the art walks, and we feel it will be a contemporary attraction to tourists,” said Jendrzejewski.
One sculpted piece has already been installed in the green space at Clark’s Crossing, located at Fifth and Perry Streets.
This first sculpture, created by Indiana artist Eric Nordgulen, is called “Travelogue.” Its canoe form — made of branch-like aluminum lines — references the history of the Wabash River.
Jendrzejewski says Nordgulen’s piece is both beautiful and thought-provoking.
“It’s also fun to engage with because it’s in the shape of the canoe but it’s made out of aluminum, so it reflects the sky — whatever color it may be that day — and takes on this ethereal color and dream-like quality,” he added.
A few other selected sculptures have also arrived in Vincennes recently and are simply awaiting installation.
One such piece is from Oregon artist MacRae Wylde.
Titled “Truth Inside,” Wylde’s sculpture stood out to the project’s jury committee because of the complexity of its visual statement.
The artist uses negative space to convey the letters of the word “truth,” and asks the viewer to consider how the meaning of the word is communicated through both verbal language as well as the image itself and the reliance on both positive and negative space.
Though the artist is adamant that the piece makes no political statement in regards to the concept of truth, Jendrzejewski points out that the artwork’s layers of possible interpretation seem particularly fitting for such uncertain times.
“Truth Inside” will be installed on Culbertson Boulevard later in the month, near the green space that surrounds the sculpture of Tecumseh.
Each installed sculpture will be on loan from the artist for a three-year period, but with an option for a business or individual to buy the artwork and therefore have it permanently installed in Vincennes.
For more information about the First City Public Sculpture Exhibit call Jendrzejewski at 812-887-6145.