Sculpture Walk Springfield started four years ago, according to the project's Executive Director Nicole Brown. It’s a public-art initiative whose goal is "to enhance the quality of life and to promote economic vitality” by displaying sculptural art in public places throughout Springfield.
Sculpture Walk Springfield and Tie & Timber Beer Co. have teamed up to curate a no-cover music and arts festival, “SculptureFest,” on Saturday, April 27 at 4:00 pm at Tie & Timber’s headquarters at 1451 E. Cherry Street in the Rountree neighborhood. The festival is designed to celebrate Tie & Timber’s first Anniversary, as well as the reveal of Sculpture Walk’s Fourth Annual Collection of 20 new sculptures.
Nicole Brown says that when the project started four years ago, “we had thirteen pieces. And now opening up for our fourth year, we’re going to have thirty-one pieces. So we’ve seen a lot of growth. And the process refreshes itself each year.” That’s because “we’ll continue to add new pieces as we take down the old ones.” There are some permanent installations—nine currently—but most of the sculpture is meant to be on display for a year, and then replaced with new work. “We’re trying to connect us all through public art. The idea is, whenever you see one piece, we want you to see the next piece of public art”—an outdoor, eventually city-wide “museum without walls” for all to enjoy. “Our goal has been to add at least one piece each year” to Sculpture Walk’s permanent collection. Often an art patron will purchase the piece and then donate it to Sculpture Walk. “We want to fill downtown—and the rest of Springfield, eventually—to keep us moving, and to connect us all.”
Sculptures are installed on both private and public properties, says Brown. “So we work directly with the city, and with Public Works specifically, to gain access to street space. They have allowed us to put pieces on a lot of corners, as long as we can comply with the ADA (Americans With Disabilities) requirements. But we also work with private spaces as well. Most of them are donors, so they have come forth, sponsored a piece, and were able to put it on their property.”
In addition to downtown, Sculpture Walk is expanding their “footprint” south and east toward the Missouri State University campus, the Springfield Art Museum, and the Rountree area. “We have a lot of support coming from that Rountree neighborhood, and so we wanted to share a sculpture there,” says Nicole Brown. It’s called “Portal #5,” and will be displayed for the next year in front of Tie & Timber Beer’s building. Brown says it’s quite a large-scale installation, of a size that precludes locating it in most downtown locations.
The “SculptureFest” event will include live performances from National Park Radio (Harrison, AR), Molly Healey (Springfield, MO), The Crumbs (Fort Smith, AR), and Symphony Ree (Springfield, MO), as well as the reveal the “Portal #5” sculpture. Nicole Brown says Tie & Timber will be introducing some new brews during the festival.
The event is free and open to all ages and will go on, rain or shine. For more information call 894-0009 or visit www.sculpturewalkspringfield.org.