winning art piece for Lytle Park
(August 2007) Lytle Park will soon have a
new artistic addition that illuminates one of Madisons darkest
times with a positive light.
The City of Madison has chosen Eric Phagans sculpture design for
the park from about 12 applicants. Titled the Ties that Bind,
Phagan welded more than 330 railroad spikes together to construct the
life-size figure of a man. All the spikes were once used in Jefferson
by Amy Casebier
Eric Phagan (top) says his
work depicts Madisons industrial era.
His sculpture (below) will be
displayed in Madisons Lytle Park.
When the railroad came into Madison, people and
businesses left, Phagan said. That shaped who we are today.
Madison suffered an economic and growth decline when new railroads and
less river traffic took some of the areas trade away, but the
city did not die.
Madison got frozen in time, Phagan said. It turned
into a positive thing.
The statue reflects the idea that while the railroads negatively affected
Madisons economy, they also caused the community to come together.
Phagan took three weeks to complete the statue. In addition to the time
it spent to finish it, Phagan said that his biggest challenge was using
the straight and simple spikes to create a round, complex form.
Its not typical, its a little contemporary,
he said. The piece works for the community.
Phagans piece for Lytle Park is part of an initiative from the
City of Madison to recognize and support local artists. Last year, the
Special Projects Administration supported two murals one at Main
Street Station and the other at the Senior Citizens Center. Both
murals highlight features and people of the town.
Madison has a deep and wonderful pool of artists, Betsey
Vonderheide, director of the Special Projects Administration, said.
They need a little recognition.
Since Madisons many visitors easily walk around town, more artwork
in public could help showcase the talents of local artists, Vonderheide
This is a beginning, we hope, she said. This art community
is so strong and its growing.
Installation for Phagans the Ties that Bind is set
for some time before the Madison Ribberfest in mid-August.
One of Madisons next artistic additions will be one of the submissions
for the Lytle Park sculpture that was not chosen. Madison Mayor Al Huntington
decided it was appropriate for the waterfront, and the piece will probably
be installed in the future Bicentennial Park, Vonderheide said.
Back to August 2007 Articles.