For a couple hours last Friday morning, Perryville Mayor Ken Baer oversaw the installation of five sculptures — one at the city parking lot, one across from the post office and three at the north end of Miget Memorial Park on French Lane.
It’s all part of Heritage Tourism Committee and the city’s first Perryville Sculpture Trail.
Former alderman Gary Schumer as well as Steve Hotop used a concrete drill and an impact wrench to make sure the sculptures stayed in place.
“We were humbled to have 16 artists from six states,” Baer said during a welcoming ceremony the afternoon of May 7. “We were very thrilled that artists wanted to display their work here.”
Chris Wubbena, who chairs the Department of Art and Design at Southeast Missouri State University, served as the juror for this year’s inaugural sculpture trail.
“The great thing about a show like this, especially one that changes out every year, is that it offers a change of scenery,” he said. “You get a piece in here, you get to know it, see it for a while, consider it, and then in a year, it switches out and there’s something else there, so there is always something new. People want that. These pieces, in particular, they are very, very different. Go to all five of them, you’ll see that. It offers the community as they’re walking to work, as they’re walking along a trail or something, it gives them something to change up, and consider.”
“Any material can be used, though all of the selections for this year were metal, Wubbena said. “Wood or concrete can be used in a short-term exhibit. A lot of times metal is used because it’s more durable, it’s lighter, easier to move into place.
“I got the first group of proposals, looked at them and came up with my top 10 or whatever and then I sat down with the committee,” Wubbena said. “We just started from there. They told me what their thoughts were, what their concerns were and we considered which ones according to where they were going to be. That helps us out in the process.”
The first piece, titled “Swept,” was designed by Marc Moulton of Georgia. It was placed at the corner of St. Joseph and Main Street. Moulton was the only artist not in attendance May 7.
After his sculpture was installed, artist Tim Godlove spoke about his piece affixed to a concrete pad in the parking lot across from the Perryville Post Office on Ste. Marie Street.
“It’s an abstract piece of work, take what you will from it,” he said. “The highlights would be the rawness of the metal, just working the metal to see the different tools that were used in it. Also, on some of the other sides, really, really showing off what you can do with metal and the difference on how you can finish metal. I’ve been able to accomplish some cool designs, cool patinas.”
Godlove estimated it took him 150 hours to complete the project over two to three months.
Godlove, a PHS graduate, submitted a proposal for the program earlier this year.
He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in 2013, and studied under Chris Wubenna, the juror for this year’s inaugural event. Godlove, who obtained a fine arts degree, also has pieces in Cape Girardeau, St. Louis and St. Joseph, Mo. as well as Wichita Falls, Texas
Brigid Ciskowski of St. Louis was the first to have her sculpture placed at one of the three spots at Miget Park. Her work titled “Millicent,” features different angles and points, reaching and climbing upward.
“When I was building it, I was thinking of something strong, prominent, something that keeps growing,” she said. “I focus a lot on growth, and how things transform as they grow, going in and out, different paths things might take and how things might alter your path, and change the course of how you’re growing. Ultimately, you just keep going. It doesn’t stop, nothing can keep it from growing. You can try to stop it but you’re not going to.”
The piece, she said, gives an impression of moving up, branching out, expanding.
“It almost demands your attention,” Ciskowski said. “Using metal for this, it just makes it a lot stronger than other materials.”
A gun coloring was sprayed on to give the piece a more rusted look.
“I think the splotchiness of it is just taking in it’s outside environment, but it’s making it it’s own,” Ciskowski said. “It took how I sprayed it on. Some areas have more red, are more darker.”
“Millicent” has a brown coloration, with orange and other hues. Ciskowski began welding in college. This isn’t Ciskowski’s first scultpure on display. She has two sculptures in display in Cape Girardeau. The SEMO graduate submitted a drawing in January. She began working on “Millicent” in February.
“I had this sketch in my mind for a little while,” Ciskowski noted.
Alison Ouellette-Kirby of Alton created “No Fair Words in the Rolling Momentum/Tumbleweed.” She described the 1,200-pound work as six-oversized Monopoly houses all attached together in the center.
“For me, it’s a little bit about the notion of where home is and feeling a little bit itinerant,” Ouellete-Kirby said. “It’s a little like a tumbleweed also that can roll around. I’ve been using the monopoly house as a symbol in a lot of my work too because it’s a bit of a statement on commercialism and capitalism and the commodification of your home idea.
Ouellete-Kirby envisions onlookers imaging questions such as why in her piece.
“I hope that maybe they wonder what or why all of these homes are attached together, this configuration and what it means,” she said. “Most of the time, in my work, I’m not trying to tell people things but ask questions about what they think to start a dialogue.”
Ouellete-Kirby also has artwork on display on the campus of the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Ga. and at a sculpture park in Ferguson.
The work is an entirely metal fabrication. In the past, she has done more metal casting. Ouellete-Kirby said she worked on it “every weekend since I knew I was going to be in the show.”
“Hopefully I can show it somewhere else as well,” Ouellette-Kirby said.
Andrew Arvanetes of Des Moines unveiled “High Steppin’” made of aluminum.
The piece was created in 2016. Previously, the work was shown in Cape Girardeau as well as Chicago
“It was a new show,” Arvanetes said. “The sculpture world is a small world. I heard about it through the juror and entered and it was selected. Some of my other pieces I kind of deal with social commentary, this one, not at all. This one is all about having fun. The way it is designed, I wanted to mimic someone walking or dancing. The steps played a part in the title. It’s a fun piece. It’s more about the composition than any kind of meaning behind it.”
The piece is constructed with eighth-inch thick painted, fabricated aluminum.
Arvanetes has been sculpting since the mid 1980s.
“I didn’t want it to appear as a metallic, spray-painted finish,” Arvanetes said. “The form is always more important to me and the shadows that you see. I wanted to get as close to a bare metal look as I could.”
Oftentimes, according to Arvanetes said the piece’s color as an afterthought.
He features floating stairs in many of his pieces.
“I use stairs and other house shapes in all my work, as well as other things related to transportation or vehicles, such as wings,” he said.
Arvanetes studied under a sculptor in junior college.
“I knew I wanted to do art in some form, it made the most sense to me,” Arvanetes said. “As a kid I drew and built things, without any training until college.”
Prior to doing the piece, he created a one-inch to one-foot metal prior to building. He has other sculptures on display in West Des Moines and Chicago.
“Congrats on your first year,” Wubbena said. “What you’re doing is great. Public art is a great way to show pride in your community.”
The five sculptures offer collections of various themes from diverse artists, according to Wubbena.
“I’d like to thank everyone involved in making this project a reality,” Wubbena said.
The use of a crane from Brewer Monument was needed on a couple occasions.
Those serving on the Heritage Tourism art committee are Trish Erzfeld, Brent Buerck, Carolyn Hardaway, Glenda Mueller and Sean Unterreiner.
All five of the sculptures will be on display until May 2022. Erzfeld said a brochure about the five sculptures is being printed and will be available at the Perryville Welcome Center.