Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Art Around Town

To continue the tour of Lafayette Public Art...

Public art doesn't always follow a specific theme. But two of Lafayette's most recent public art installations are directly related to the history and culture of our town.

The first is a sculpture called towns-woman by artist Tim Upham. It was installed alongside Baseline Road, in front of our Rec Center, in the fall of 2006. While I must admit, at first glance, I didn't really "get" the sculpture, it has come to grow on me. When I first drove past the piece, I wasn't drawn to its angular, industrial look. I quickly noticed, however, the words etched into the crosspieces were more feminine in nature, "favorite niece" "girlhood home," "birthplace," "maiden name." And, when I heard the story behind the piece, I grew to like it more. Mr. Upham's inspiration for the piece is Mrs. Mary Miller, the founder of the town of Lafayette. The form of the piece is a representation of the original street plat of the town of Lafayette. The words on the piece reflect the many aspects of Mrs. Miller's life. It is a thoughtful piece of art.

The second sculpture called Toros Curiousos was installed in September of 2007. This large scale sculpture is by Christopher Weed. I think this sculpture is great! It consists of two huge, vibrant, angular bulls with lengths of industrial chain as their tails. They sit amid the prairie, over looking Highway 287. The two bright orangey-red bulls sit adjacent to the Super Wal-Mart parking lot. While it's location is not totally conducive for viewing, there are plans for a walking trail to run from nearby Anna's Farm neighborhood towards the east and past the bulls. And, it certainly is a head turner for the commuters travelling south on the road. I love that the Toros are so whimsical, and that they are a nod to Lafayette's agricultural and ranching roots. As for the Bulls being near the Wal-Mart, that is no coincidence. All commercial properties built in Lafayette contribute 1% for art as part of their building permit fees. This is one of several ways that the Public Art Committee is funded in the city.

So, on with the tour. Next time I think I will take you on a drive down Public Road, our main street and show you how we add art to our lives on the road.