Friday, January 7, 2022

"Sprout" Takes Root in Hessel Park

Sprout by Ben Pierce

The Public Art League is pleased to announce the purchase of Sprout!  The sculpture is installed in the southwest corner of Hessel Park (along the walking trail) in Champaign and our purchase of the piece was made possible by a generous donation from James Barham and the Barham Benefit Group.

Sprout is the creation of artist Ben Pierce of Cape Girardeau, Mo.  The nine foot-tall sculpture is constructed of powder coated, welded steel with a powder coated sparkle clear coat.  Of the piece, the artist states that Sprout was: "Inspired by nature and growth of a young sprout, uncurling from its seed casing and stretching towards the sun."

Please visit Hessel Park to enjoy Sprout.  A big thanks to James Barham and the Barham Benefit Group for making the purchase of the sculpture possible.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

"Beacon" Will Continue To Shine In Downtown Champaign

Beacon by Michael Collins

The Public Art League is pleased to announce the purchase of Beacon, a sculpture designed and created by local artist Michael Collins (Homer, IL).  The piece is installed in the roundabout area at Chestnut and Main Streets in downtown Champaign (its home since 2016).  The ownership of The Old Depot, home to Black Dog Smoke & Ale House, donated to the Public Art League to make it possible for us to purchase the piece.

Beacon is constructed of steel, aluminum and black locust wood.  The piece contains LED lighting and the sculpture illuminates when the street lights turn on at night.

Of Beacon, the artist states: "Beacon is a work that brings together a history of architectural references, geometric patterns, and a broad range of materials as a sort of architectural streetlight, or a minature urban lighthouse.  This piece serves to perform as a focal point for people to meet at, have a conversation around, or to simply enjoy its form, anchoring its location as a point of reference.  There is a duality that exists between the range of visual texture seen in the daytime, from the reflectivity of the faceted aluminum panels, to the natural tones of the wood, contrasted in the nighttime by the inner glow from diffused lighting, the silhouetted geometric patterns, and the cast shadows around its base.  Besides being a focal point in the daylight, I wanted this work to charge the evening time and activate a space with a mellow glow, akin to a chiminea."

Thank you to the owners of The Old Depot for making the purchase of Beacon possible!  Please visit and enjoy Beacon, day or night, in downtown Champaign.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

It's Just "Beneath The Surface" In Downtown Champaign

Beneath the Surface by Gregory Stallmeyer

The Public Art League is proud to welcome Beneath The Surface by local artist Gregory Stallmeyer (Monticello) to the roundabout at Main and Chestnut in downtown Champaign.  The piece was selected from the 2019 Call to Artists and was originally installed in downtown Monticello with assistance from the Monticello Area Arts Council.  At the end of the intial lease, the sculpture was moved to the downtown Champaign roundabout with sponsorship provided by The Station (former train station that currently houses Dandelion, Exile on Main St., Maize and others).

The Sculpture is constructed from steel, aluminum, resin and automotive urethane.  Of Beneath the Surface, 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."

Please join us in welcoming Beneath the Surface to downtown Champaign.

Beneath the Surface with Artist, Gregory Stallmeyer

Photos by Kelly White of 40North/88West


Thursday, September 30, 2021

"Twirling Smile Flower" Installed In Mattis Park


Twirling Smile Flower by Don Lawler

The Public Art League proudly welcomes Twirling Smile Flower by Don Lawler (Stephensport, KY) to Mattis Park in Champaign.  The sculpture was created in 2020 and carved from Indiana limestone.  The piece is installed near the walking trail on the northwest side of the lake.

Residents of the area should be familiar with Don Lawler's work as he has exhibited a number of sculpures through our program.  At present, two of the sculptor's other works have been purchased through donations and are installed.  Ripples can be found in One Main Plaza and A New Leaf is installed in the Mabery Gelvin Botanical Gardens at the Lake of Woods Forest Preserve.

Twirling Smile Flower was purchased by the Public Art League with a donation from Beth and Tod Satterthwaite.  Once PAL acquired the sculpture, the piece was donated to the Champaign Park District for installation in Mattis Park.  Beth and Tod have been fantastic supporters of the Public Art League program.  They have donated to purchase three sculptures.  In addition to Twirling Smile Flower, they donated to purchase Startled by Tim Summerville (installed in Scott Park in 2017) and Meshed by Dean Allen Bloedorn (installed in the Illinois terminal in 2017).

Thank you to Beth and Tod for their generous support of public art in our community.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Getting "Lost In Space" in Downtown Champaign


Lost In Space

by Judd Nelson (Wayzata, MN)

The Public Art League welcomes Lost In Space by artist Judd Nelson (Wayzata, MN) to Main Street in downtown Champaign.

The sculpture was created in 2015 and depicts three young women on cell phones.  The piece is constructed of heavy plate steel that is coated in transparent stains.

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.  This sculpture is a first in a series of life size figures that will be bolted to the sidewalks and bus stops throughout America.

An artist should create artwork that reflects our view of the world and the people that are living here in 2015.  This sculpture is making a strong statement of what I see and is a reflection on our society.  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.  I have laser cut heavy plate steel and welded them together to form a 3 sided piece.  My goal is to have the viewer’s recognize and feel the alienation of people from one another."

The sculpture is the 92nd piece that has been installed through the Public Art League program.  A big thanks to Jos. Kuhn & Co. for the sponsorship of this piece.

Friday, June 18, 2021

"What it the Good?" Brings Vibrant Colors to the Boneyard Crossing

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

The Public Art League is proud to welcome What is the Good? by local artist Gregory Stallmeyer to the Boneyard Crossing, near The Station Theater, in Urbana.  This amazing piece was installed in advance of the 2021 Boneyard Arts Festival and will be enjoyed throughout the event weekend and beyond.

What is the Good? stands 9' tall and is 7.5' wide.  The sculpture was created using steel, plexiglass, resin and automotive paint.  The artist states that the sculpture was inspired by a 2013 philosophical radio drama titled "Darkside."

The installation was made possible through collaboration with the Urbana Arts and Culture Program who sponsored and provided installation assistance.  A big thanks to the Urbana Arts and Culture Program for making the display of What is the Good? possible!

In addition to What is the Good?, PAL also worked with Greg to install Beneath the Surface in 2019.  Beneath the Surface is currently installed in Monticello thanks to a collaboration between PAL and the Monticello Area Arts Council.  

What is the Good? represents the 91st sculpture installed in the community through the Public Art League program.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

"The Sun King" Maintains Its Throne on the Kickapoo Trail

The Sun King by Steven Maeck

We are happy to share that The Sun King by Steven Maeck (Decorah, IA) has been purchased by the Forest Preserve Friends Foundation and will have a long-term home on the Kickapoo Trail in Urbana.

The artist states: "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."

We would like to thank the Champaign County Forest Preserve District and its donors for adding to the community through public art!