New artwork installed thanks to MCEP program

By: Kristyne E. Demske | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published October 17, 2019

 “Mantis,” by artist John Parker, is assembled at 148 S. Main Street Oct. 14. The Macomb Cultural and Economic Partnership is renewing its collaboration with the Midwest Sculpture Initiative to bring new pieces of art to town.

“Mantis,” by artist John Parker, is assembled at 148 S. Main Street Oct. 14. The Macomb Cultural and Economic Partnership is renewing its collaboration with the Midwest Sculpture Initiative to bring new pieces of art to town.

Photo by Deb Jacques

 “Holey Spirit,” by artist Todd Kime of Toledo, Ohio, is installed in front of the Alliance Health Building, 133 S. Main St.

“Holey Spirit,” by artist Todd Kime of Toledo, Ohio, is installed in front of the Alliance Health Building, 133 S. Main St.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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MOUNT CLEMENS — Looking to inspire imagination and attract visitors to the south side of the city, the Macomb Cultural and Economic Partnership is renewing its collaboration with the Midwest Sculpture Initiative to bring new pieces of art to town.

“I was amazed by how much people were engaged by it,” said Ed Bruley, secretary of the MCEP board, of the first year of the program. “People started to have a sense of ownership about it.”

To prepare for the second installation, Bruley said that they looked through hundreds of slides from the Midwest Sculpture Initiative to select this year’s pieces of art.

“We’re learning how better to do this,” he said. “A couple were really good (the first year), but they put them in the wrong spot.”

Nine new sculptures were installed Oct. 14.

“The south end of Mount Clemens, we wanted to help enliven it and make it a better place to be,” Bruley said. “Art needs to be seen as part of economic development and cultural development.”

Each sculpture costs $1,800 to rent for a year. Community groups and local individuals, like Pat and Bill Konrad, of Shelby Township, have stepped up to sponsor each work of art.

“I believe in the program and bringing ... art into the community,” said Pat Konrad, a member of the MCEP board. “It’s a passion of mine to get more people involved in the community. I love art.”

To help residents and visitors check out all of the artwork, MCEP produced a flyer laying out an approximately 1.5-mile loop that could be walked around the area of northbound Gratiot Avenue, Church Street, Main Street and southbound Gratiot Avenue to see all of the 2018-19 sculptures. The 501(c)(3) non profit will publish a similar map for the 2019-20 installation, which also discusses each piece of art, the artist and where it is located.

“Hopefully, it brings more traffic into the area,” Pat Konrad said.

Stephen Saph Jr., of Mount Clemens, said that he appreciates the efforts to highlight the south end of the city.

“With the second year, now that we’ve gone through an annual cycle, I’m hoping we’ll see more participation,” said Saph, who is sponsoring a sculpture this year. “We’re excited about the attention that it brings and, more importantly, the smiles.”

Narrowing down the sculptures to just nine new ones for the city was difficult, Saph said, but he appreciated the opportunity to engage and talk with representatives of the Midwest Sculpture Initiative to determine what would look best in Mount Clemens for a year.

“It’s great to see the community and the participation,” said Toni Scola, of Alliance Health, which is sponsoring a sculpture for the second year. “We get a lot of traffic.”

She said she’ll miss the first year’s sculpture, “Flight,” by James Havens, but she’s looking forward to the colorful piece coming to the property this year.

The sculptures are all available for sale, and two of the 2018 pieces were purchased by the hosts and will be placed in other locations to make way for new sculptures.

For more information, or to donate to future programs, call (586) 783-6008 or email mcep99@gmail.com.

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