Public Art: Outdoor sculptures welcomed 2016.02.03

Hey, what are those odd things in the grassy area next to the Observer?

We've already heard one of them described as a pile of two-by-fours and we've listened to some puzzled people wonder just what is going on out there. We watched one person stop his truck and stare, his lips moving even though he was the only one in the vehicle.

What's in the lot is art. Yes, Morenci has now joined many other communities with art in public places.

The comments and questions and puzzlement are part of what makes art interesting. Where some people see nothing but a pile of wood, others see an interesting design. That's how it is with art. What appeals to one person only seems silly to another—and both opinions are welcomed.

The appearance of the art next to the Observer is an off-shoot of Stair District Library's Sculptamania program. The library has worked with the school in recent weeks to encourage creativity among area children. Tours of public art were taken in Adrian and Tecumseh. Designs and objects were created with materials purchased through the library's grant. Both students and adults continue to have a good time making things at the library.

The outdoor pieces of art are the result of two school projects. Art teacher Kym Ries found the wooden trusses and organized a design contest to see what could be done with the pieces. Middle school student Walker Whitehouse created the winning design, so a large-scale creation was made and placed in the lot. In the other project, elementary school teacher Phil Grime guided students through the construction of a sculpture made of painted logs.

Morenci city council gave its permission for the art to be placed in the lot through mid-April. We wonder if that time might be extended if nothing else is planned for the space. Perhaps additional sculpture could help fill the area—and perhaps local dog owners could cease using the grass as a public bathroom for their pets.

Make a point to drive up North Street and take a look. You don't have to like what you see. You can agree that it's just a pile of wood if you wish, but we hope you agree that it's an interesting use of some open space.