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!

Thursday, December 31, 2020

PAL President's Letter - 2020


Flamenco Revisited at Porter Park, Champaign
Artist: Ruth Aizuss Migdal.  Photo: Della Perrone

Dear Friend of the Public Art League,

To say 2020 was a challenging year is an understatement. So many disruptions and changes to our urban lifestyle and experience! 

Although the Public Art League was compelled to take a low-profile like so many others in the community, we were able to continue advancing the PAL mission with the installation of two new sculptures located in the Carle at The Fields, and, the renewal of leases for other existing sculptures. 

Sadly, the strong winds of change were too much for Flamenco Revisited at Porter Family Park in Champaign. Damage to the sculpture required returning it to the artist thus ending its run in a prominent corner of southwest Champaign.

As we emerge from these turbulent times, the power of the arts to lift our spirits and spark new beginnings has never been more potent. And so it is with excitement that I announce a new partnership between 40 North and the Public Art League.

Beginning in 2021, 40 North will provide financial and operational governance for the Public Art League. I believe combining these operational synergies under 40 North’s Board of Directors will continue advancing public art in our community. This collaboration will prove true the adage that we are stronger together than when we are apart.

I am grateful for all the support you have given over these past eleven years. And I hope you are excited for the years ahead. I know that with your continued support, together, PAL and 40 North will put art on every corner!

Very truly yours,

David B. Wilcoxen, President

Public Art League

Sunday, November 1, 2020

"The Feather" Installed at Carle at the Fields

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

On a windy, Sunday morning, artist Kirk Seese (Lutherville, MD) installed Pluma Sculptura (a.k.a. The Feather ) on the Carle at the Fields trail in Champaign.  This is the second sculpture installed at the Carle at the Fields development this year.

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.

Take a walk around the Carle at the Fields trail (Staley & Curtis Roads) in Southwest Champaign to enjoy The Feather!  A big thanks to Carle for their site sponsorship of two sculptures this year!