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Archive for Tuesday, March 5, 1996

DOWNTOWN LOSES ARTFOR MONTH

March 5, 1996

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Monday was moving day for the sculptures that have graced Lawrence's downtown sidewalks for the last year.

The whir of a grinder and the loud clanging of steel pierced through the chilly Monday morning air.

The four men dressed in work clothes stopped the noise briefly to gently liberate the metal sculpture "Libertine" from its base.

They tipped it on its side and carried it from the northeast corner of Eighth and Massachusetts streets to a waiting city truck.

"We've got one more," yelled Jim Patti, director of the Kansas Sculptor's Assn., over the sound of a chugging electric generator.

The workers quickly headed north on the street to begin removing the next sculpture, "Seal Head," from its pedestal.

Monday was moving day for the eight sculptures that have been on display in Lawrence's downtown for the last year as part of the Lawrence Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition.

"We're just taking the old ones down. The new ones will be delivered March 16," said Patti, who was working with a few city employees and three local sculptors who volunteered their time: Carl Ramberg, Clinton Leon and Patti's brother, Charles Patti.

Jim Patti said the pieces will be kept in a city-owned storage building at 11th and Haskell until the artists come to reclaim them.

The pieces are donated to the city for a year as part of the annual sculpture exhibition. They are then returned to the artists, who each receive a $500 honorarium.

The money comes from the city's budget for the Lawrence Arts Commission, said David Corliss, director of legal services for the city.

The 12 new pieces that are coming March 16 will be installed April 8 for the 10th year of the program.

The pieces are picked by a three-member selection committee consisting of a member of the Lawrence Arts Commission, the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce and the Kansas Sculptors Assn.

The city solicits entries from the Kansas Sculptors Assn. mailing list, Patti said.

"This year we had 21 artists submit work, and there were 45 sculptures to choose from," he said.

Three of the 12 pieces selected are from Lawrence and one is from Baldwin. The others are from such places as Seward, Neb.; St. Louis; Greenville, N.C.; and Jersey City, N.J.

"You don't realize how far some of them have to come," Patti said.

Patti said Lawrence's exhibition program has been copied by other cities, including Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

"I feel pretty good about it," he said.

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