Downtown Lawrence, get ready for the giant cones.
The city's 19th Annual Outdoor Downtown Sculpture Exhibition will have eight original pieces of art, and one of them will be very hard to miss: a 5,000 pound, 18-foot-tall piece that suspends via cables two large aluminum cones that the public will be able to walk under and observe.
Crews began installing the piece on the southwest corner of Ninth and New Hampshire streets Wednesday and work will continue today.
"We already have a lot of people really curious," said Judi Geer Kellas, a member of the Lawrence Arts Commission who was on the site Wednesday. "I think it is very exciting."
The piece, titled "Indifferent Space," is the creation of artist Andrew Connelly, a professor of art at Sacramento State University. The sculpture was part of a show in New York City, and Connelly decided to enter it into the city's annual sculpture exhibit, even though it only pays a $750 honorarium.
"You guys are on the way," Connelly said of his trek to take the piece from New York to California. He also said he liked that Lawrence was a small university community that seemed to respect the arts.
The sculpture will be on display until April 2007, unless either the city or someone else in the area is interested in purchasing it. Connelly said he's willing to sell the piece of art. He estimates its value at between $200,000 and $250,000.
Area residents soon can form their own opinions. Connelly is optimistic that area art aficionados will enjoy the piece, in part, because it is designed to be very interactive. Connelly said to fully appreciate the work, people need to walk beneath the structure and look upward at the cones.
That will give people the full yin and yang experience, Connelly said. One cone - the one with its point facing toward the sky - is designed to make people feel safe and secure like they are standing under a giant aluminum umbrella. The other cone - mainly because its sharp, heavy metal point is right above your head - is designed more to scare the bejesus out of you.
"It puts you in a situation where you can experience one emotion or the other," Connelly said.
And just to add one more mind bender, Connelly points out that the piece could be flipped upside down and look exactly the same.
The piece is by far the largest sculpture the city has had during the 19 years of the sculpture exhibit. Eight concrete piers had to be poured on the site - which is on city property adjacent to an entrance to the city's parking garage - to support the structure. City crews from Parks and Recreation and the Utilities Department worked to help Connelly prepare the site and unload the cones.
Connelly said the piece should be mostly in place by this evening.