Sunday, January 10, 1999

Sculpture evokes Hamilton

'Gateway' piece features bridge

Enquirer Contributor

        HAMILTON — It's a gateway to the imagination — a bridge between Hamilton's history and its hopes for the future.

        The design for “The Hamilton Gateway,” a sculpture to grace the plaza of Hamilton's new Government Services Center, uses shapes and materials that evoke the city's environment and industrial legacy.

        Artists Andrea Myklebust and Stanton Sears of Minneapolis plan to sculpt their work from a variety of materials, such as black marble, bronze, stone and raw steel. Native limestone will be carved to suggest the ripples of the Great Miami River. A cast glass lantern will symbolize the vital qualities of democracy, and a stainless-steel bridge will connect the two upright elements of the work.

        “The bridge represents all the bridges that have crossed the Great Miami River here in Hamilton,” said Rick H. Jones, executive director of the Fitton Center for Creative Arts, who has helped oversee the design selection process.

        The sculpture design is the winning proposal of a competition that drew 104 entries from 15 states and six countries. The selection process began in April, when a 16-member Public Arts Committee was convened by the Fitton Center. The committee whittled the field to 20 semi- finalists.

        Four Butler County residents with professional expertise in sculpture, architecture and public art selected the five finalists. Those finalists came to the Fitton Center in December to present their proposals to the jurors and to the public.

        Public votes mirrored the choice of the jurors, with the Myklebust-Sears proposal getting more than a third of the votes.

        Mr. Jones said Ms. Myklebust and Mr. Sears spent six days in Hamilton during October visiting local landmarks and gathering ideas. “Both jurors and members of the public liked the fact that their proposed sculpture really reflects the community,” he said.

        The finished work, to be installed in late summer, will rise 65 feet above the plaza. The sculpture will cost about $250,000, with funds provided by the city of Hamilton, the Government Services Center Task Force and Butler County.


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