Tuesday, October 13, 2020

"Stargazer" is a Vision at Carle at the Fields

Stargazer with Artist Ray Katz

The Public Art League proudly welcomes Stargazer by artist Ray Katz (Pontiac, MI) to Carle at the Fields in Southwest Champaign.  The sculpture is installed at the corner of Fields South and Healthcare Drive.

Stargazer is 8.5’ tall and 8.5’ wide, weighs 1,000 lbs. and is made of brushed aluminum.

Of Stargazer, the artist states:  Metal is best suited for my work because if its strength, malleability and inherent beauty.  I combine geometric and organic elements to create compositions that convey kinetic energy implied in my work.  I use the abstract manipulation of form and shape in space to create a visual balance, using rhythm, action and movement.  Brushed aluminum has become a prominent aspect of my recent work.  The shades of aluminum integrate and emphasize the structural organization of the elements in my compositions.

The Public Art League thanks Carle for its Site Sponsorship and its support of public art in our community.

Artist Ray Katz with Stargazer

Thursday, October 1, 2020

"Quarter Moon" Finds New Home

Quarter Moon by Carl Billingsley

Quarter Moon by Carl Billingsley (Greensboro, NC) has found a new home on Park Street (near Randolph St.) in downtown Champaign.  The sculpture was formerly installed on Main Street (near Market Street).  The sculpture was relocated to make way for another sculpture at that site, and to bring some new artwork back to the Park Street location.

The artist states:  "Quarter Moon is an exploration of a vertical motif.  It is constructed of standard industrial steel shapes such as I-Beams, and various sizes of pipe that are welded and mechanically attached.  The technique that I employed in constructing Quarter Moon is also industrial and continues the tradition of 19th century 'constructivists' who introduced industrial materials and techniques into 'fine art.'  'Economy of means' and 'the hand of the artist' are both expressive aspects of the sculpture that any viewer can see and readily understand.  Quarter Moon is a unique and somewhat mysterious object that enlivens the public space and references the natural world symbolically by employing universal design elements such as color, planes, lines and circles in a sort of poetry of object and space."

We hope you enjoy Quarter Moon in its new home!

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

2020 Public Art League Finalists

The Public Art League is pleased to share the sculptures selected as finalists from the 2020 Call to Artists.  We had a number of wonderful pieces of public sculpture submitted as entries this year and we thank all of the artists who submitted their works for potential installation in the Champaign-Urbana area.

The Public Art League is currently seeking sponsors to help bring these sculptures to the Champaign-Urbana area.  Please see our  Sponsors Page for sponsorship information.  If you have any questions regarding sponsoring a piece, please contact us.

Please see this year’s finalists below:

Street Musician by Tim Summerville

(St. Joseph, IL)

Of Street Musician, the artist states:  "Street Musician is a fun, whimsical sculpture that enjoys being photographed with his human friends while they play imaginary instruments.” 

The sculpture stands 7.5’ tall and is constructed of welded steel with a hot dipped zinc (rustproof) coating.

Osci118 by Nicole Beck (Chicago, IL)

The artist states that Osci118 refers to an infinite wave of light oscillating between spectrums in equilibrium.  It also abstracts the phenomenon of many continuous systems naturally occurring.  

Osci118 is 8’ tall and 8’ deep and is constructed of stainless steel, painted steel and mosaic.

Letting Go by Judd Nelson (Wayzata, MN)

Of Letting Go, the artist states: "The act of letting go is essential to our life process and in getting in touch with our spirituality.  Nothing lasts.  And since change is inevitable and we all have things that we are going through, whether they are physical, emotional or simply changes in our life.  In order to move forward and get in touch with our true spiritual self, we must let go of that which binds us.  Through the acts of forgiveness and gratitude we are able to let go.

This young woman represents your mind and thoughts.  Worries and negative thoughts are being released which will make way for a fresh positive mindset.  The bird represents our negative thoughts and feelings which are being released to God for transmutation."

Letting Go is 7’ tall and is constructed of hot forged steel.

Pluma Sculptura (a.k.a. The Feather) by Kirk Seese (Lutherville, MD)


Of Pluma Sculptura, the artist states: "I wanted to create something that was not based in reality, had no reference point and seemed to come from a different planet. Something unique. Something that came from inside. The process of creating the swirling color fields became a therapeutic exercise for me. The organic motions of the blended hues contained by the stark, black, geometric framework should be visually unnerving, but they’re not. Instead they complement each other. Viewers say it reminds them of stained glass, and even ask me if the panels are transparent, which they are not. With such a high gloss from the epoxy resin outer coating, they do offer a mirror like reflection of the world around them, making it difficult to distinguish between what is there, and what is reflection."

Pluma Sculptura stands 10’ tall and is constructed if steel, ¾” marine grade, CNC cut MDO board, UV inks and epoxy resin.

Stargazer by Ray Katz (Pontiac, MI)


Of Stargazer, the artist states:  "Metal is best suited for my work because if its strength, malleability and inherent beauty.  I combine geometric and organic elements to create compositions that convey kinetic energy implied in my work.  I use the abstract manipulation of form and shape in space to create a visual balance, using rhythm, action and movement.  Brushed aluminum has become a prominent aspect of my recent work.  The shades of aluminum integrate and emphasize the structural organization of the elements in my compositions."

Stargazer is 8.5’ tall and 8.5’ wide, weighs 1,000 lbs. and is made of brushed aluminum.

Winter and Spring by Mark Krucke (Wilmington, NC)

Of Winter and Spring, the artist states: "This piece was an exploration of direction and balance.  It plays with the idea of bright spring colors and the last leaf on a tree before winter sets in.  To me, these times of the year signal letting go and rebirth, they are the beginning and the end."

Winter and Spring stands 7’ tall and is made of bronze and stainless steel painted with oil-based paint.

Twirling Smile Flower by Don Lawler (Stephensport, KY)


Of Twirling Smile Flower, the artist states:  “This whimsical creation is a functional sculpture that was made to put a smile on people’s faces.  It is inspired by nature, but will look just as great in an urban environment.  It is the artist’s desire that people will discover the piece and interact with it.  It will likely become the source of many social media shares with endless photo opportunities.

Twirling Smile Flower is 35” tall, 45” wide and is made of Indiana limestone.

What is the Good? by Gregory Stallmeyer (Monticello, IL)

The artist states that What is the Good? was inspired by Darkside, a 2013 philosophical radio drama.

The sculpture stands 9’ tall, 7.5’ wide and is made of steel, plexiglass with resin and automotive paint.

Courage Under Fire by Shawn Morin (Portage, OH)

Of Courage Under Fire, the artist states: “The measure of a man is not determined by the number of times he falls, but the number of times he rises.”

The sculpture stands 9’ tall, is 5’ wide and 6’ deep.  It is constructed of steel, painted with enamel paint and weighs 550 lbs.

Lost In Space by Judd Nelson

(Wayzata, MN)


Of Lost In Space, the artist states: “The 3 teenage girls are typical of what I see happening in public places every day and everywhere.  It doesn’t matter what age or gender, when people gather in groups they tend to isolate themselves and zone into their smartphones…”  

“…My sculptures are life size and the imagery is modern yet representational. The style is fluid and spontaneous, intent upon capturing movement and natural gestures that are typical of that person…”

Lost In Space stands 5’6” tall and is made of ¼” heavy plate steel, laser cut and finished with transparent stains.

Point of Reference by Tim Jorgensen and Carissa Heinrichs

(Cedar Falls, IA)

From the artists, the concept of Point of Reference involves three nearly identical sculptures (of which one could potentially come to the Champaign-Urbana area).  The artists state: “The form of these sculptures resemble a plumb bob, an object used to find a reference point of a vertical line, or exactly vertical.  The forms themselves are created using stainless steel, this allows the sculpture to remain sustainable to the elements of the weather.  Sheets of copper adorn the surface of the sculpture.  These copper sheets have aspects of topography etched into the surface.”

Further, the artists state: “Point of Reference is a series of three large plumb bobs.  With intentions of separating them as far apart from each other, they function to triangulate a region as a reference point of individual perceptions.  This expansive area of known and often overseen places encompasses the presence of many different people.  The broken cartography that adorn the surfaces of the plumb bobs elude to the idea of the disjointed interpretations of one another’s perspective.  Through the installation of these sculptures, a connection is made that represents a joined perspective.  One that not only includes the respective location of the other sculptures, but also the area that resides between them.”

Point of Reference stands 8’ tall and is made of stainless steel and copper.

Spirited by Tim Summerville

(St. Joseph, IL)

Of the creation of Spirited, the artist states: “Each steel rod was heated, hand formed and welded in place using my artistic eye as a guide.  Special attention was given to muscle tone and shape.”

Spirited is constructed of hot formed steel and welded 3/8” steel rod. 

If you would be interested in becoming a sponsor of the Public Art League and would like to bring one of these fantastic sculptures to the community, please visit our Sponsor Page.  If you have any questions, please contact us.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

The Leaves Are Falling...But Art Is Still Sprouting

by Ben Pierce (Cape Girardeau, MO)

The Public Art League welcomes Sprout by Ben Pierce of Cape Girardeau, Missouri to Hessel Park in Champaign.  The sculpture is located along the trail on the southwest side of the park.

Sprout stands 9' tall and is made from steel which has been powder coated.  Of Sprout, the artist states: "Inspired by nature and growth of a young sprout, uncurling from its seed casing and stretching towards the sun."

Sprout is the newest of Ben Pierce's sculptures to be featured in the area.  Until recently, another of Pierce's sculptures, Hole in My Heart, was installed in the northwest corner of Hessel Park.  Keep It Together, by Pierce, was also installed along University Avenue in front of the Urbana Park District Headquarters.  In addition, two of the artist's pieces have been purchased privately through the PAL program.  Separated Together was purchased by the University of Illinois Research Park and, more recently, Triumph was purchased by M2 on Neil, LLC.

A big thanks to Barham Benefit Group for the site sponsorship for Sprout in Hessel Park.  Also, a thanks goes out to the work of the Champaign Park District for the creation of the sculpture pad and for their help with the installation.

Sprout with Artist, Ben Pierce

Friday, September 13, 2019

"Beneath the Surface" Installed in Monticello

Beneath the Surface by Gregory Stallmeyer
Sculpture being unveiled at a ceremony in Monticello, IL (9/12/19)
Photo by the Piatt County Journal-Republican

The Public Art League proudly welcomes Beneath the Surface by local artist, Gregory Stallmeyer, to Monticello, IL.  The installation marks the first collaboration between the Public Art League and the Monticello Area Arts Council.

Beneath the Surface is constructed from aluminum, steel, resin and automotive urethane.

The artist states:

"Beneath the Surface was created during a time of introspection.  Carving away at ones outer shell to reveal what is on the inside.  By removing what is unnecessary we can find that which is required to fuel our creativity and contentment."

A big thanks to the Monticello Area Arts Council, Christie Clinic and all of the public art supporters who made this installation possible.

Beneath the Surface with Gregory Stallmeyer
Monticello installation ceremony - 9/12/19

Friday, September 6, 2019

"The Feather" Lands in Downtown Champaign

Artist Kirk Seese with The Feather

The Public Art League is proud to welcome The Feather by artist Kirk Seese (Lutherville, MD) to downtown Champaign.  The piece is installed in the concrete planter within the roundabout on Main and Chestnut Streets.  The Feather stands 10 feet tall and is made from steel and MDO board coated with a clear epoxy resin.

The artist states:  "The inspiration for The Feather is to offer the public the beauty of stained glass, but in a sturdy, weatherproof and shatterproof format.  An homage to nature is at its core.  It really sprung forth from tooling around in Photoshop and creating something that I thought was aesthetically pleasing.  So much of my time is spent designing either murals or themed climbing walls for others, this exercise was a complete separation from anything I knew before, and I like it!"

A big thanks to "The Station" (the former train station building housing Maize, Exile on Main, Dandelion and others) for the sponsorship of this piece.

The Feather by Kirk Seese

Friday, August 23, 2019

"The Sun King" Shines on the Kickapoo Trail

The Sun King
with artist, Steven Maeck

The Public Art League welcomes The Sun King by Steven Maeck (Decorah, Iowa) to the Kickapoo Bike Trail in Urbana.  The Sun King stands 14.5 feet tall and is made of welded steel.

From the artist:

"Since 2002, I have been designing and fabricating sculptural work either fully or partially composed of iron and steel.  The focus of my recent work has been almost exclusively in the utilization of industrial detritus which I alter and/or recombine in such a manner as to create work that is not only resonant and original, but manifests the aura of having been created from base raw material, i.e. cast bronze.  Of course there is, and should be, at least a subliminal sense of the processed heritage of the metal."

Thank you to the Forest Preserve Friends Foundation for sponsoring this piece and to the Champaign County Forest Preserve District for coordinating its installation.

The Sun King
by Steven Maeck