Finishing Touch

Artwork is being sought
for La Grange Springs Park

A call for proposals will continue until Dec. 31

LA GRANGE, Ky. (November 2021) – Not only will La Grange, Ky., have a new park for residents to enjoy soon, it will also contain artwork to enhance the experience. The La Grange Springs Park Committee members say they hope the park and any future artwork will pay homage to the history of the town.
The deadline for a request for proposals was extended until Dec. 31 to allow more artists to submit ideas. The committee, in conjunction with the La Grange Main Street Program and City of La Grange, is seeking to commission a unique sculpture for the entrance of the new Springs Park and a large mural/mosaic installation.
As to the subject matter, “We’re keeping it open,” said committee member Mary Boulton. The committee didn’t want to dictate what the art should be about, but rather consider different artists’ conceptions for the park, she said.

La Grange Springs Park rendition

Rendition provided

At right is a rendition of the future Farmers Market Pavilion that will be part of the La Grange Springs Park in downtown La Grange.

“Ideally, we would like to have a local artist,” she said. But not wanting to exclude anyone whose work might be perfect for the site, the proposal has also been sent across the state and to the Cincinnati area.
Committee member Sandie Fulks said, “We are so blessed to have an amazing number of incredible artists in our area. There must be something in that springs water. With that in mind, the committee hopes to speak to the history and roots of our community, incorporate mixed mediums for interest, and make it a point of interest for years to come.” Using that as a starting point, “we let the artists put their imaginations to work. The creativity and artistic expression we have here is more than the committee could have ever hoped for. I know everyone will be delighted with the outcome.”
The first time the proposal was sent out in the local area, “we didn’t get enough feedback,” Boulton said. So the deadline was extended.
The committee plans to meet in early January 2022 to discuss applicants and share the results. “We’re excited to get different opinions of what might go there.”
The La Grange Springs Park property is located in downtown La Grange at the site of a historic spring. It is also parallel to railroad tracks that run through the historic Main Street area. La Grange is the only remaining Main Street in the country with active trains sharing the street space with vehicles and pedestrians. In its more recent history, a portion of the park property comprised a significant African American neighborhood.
The La Grange Springs Park Committee formed in 2017 and tasked with creating a park on city owned property in downtown La Grange near Second Avenue and Main Street. Many public surveys were conducted to gauge interest in a park and determine top features. Those most wanted included a splash pad, amphitheater, playground, skate boarding area and farmers’ market pavilion.
Environs Jones Team is the lead designers for this multi-use, multi-generational park project. Ground was broken earlier this year for Phase I.
Committee members say they would like to see an entrance sculpture at the corner of Second and Main in the east plaza, and a large-scale mural/mosaic installation on the side of the main restroom building located near Main Street and west of the Market Pavilion/west plaza. They ask that materials used in the creation of the artwork be durable to the elements, maintenance free and non-toxic to the environment, humans and animals.
A recommended sculpture size of 6x6-foot at the base, no shorter than 8 feet or taller than 12 feet, is suggested. The mural/mosaic installation size parameters are 16 foot, 75/8 inches wide by 8 feet high.
“The incorporation of artwork is a critical element to the park,” said Fulks. She stated several reasons for it. “It helps set the tone for the aesthetics and beauty of the park itself. Second, to pay tribute to the many talented artists we have in our area. And third, to be a showpiece that gives local residents a sense of pride and draws in visitors and tour groups to see.”
“We are requesting a budget from all artists,” said Boulton. The committee needs to be able to cover the budget cost plus compensation for the artists’ time. The committee is asking for sculptural projects to stick with a budget of $60,000, and mural/mosaic installations not to exceed a $10,000 budget.
The winning proposal will be selected based upon aesthetic appeal, successful artist experience with similar projects, considerations of practicality and public safety, appropriateness to the site and durability.
“Art always tells a story, be it the history of a point in time, an inspiration for the future or a moment of peace and beauty in a busy world,” said Fulks. It will promote “the feeling of a gathering place and a ‘marker’ to celebrate our many accomplishments and pay homage to our community. Our hope is that when people see the artwork, they are inspired and that it brings a sense of place and belonging.”
Boulton said the committee is trying to secure grants, donations or some similar type of funding to cover the costs of the artwork. The theme may direct from where the money will come, so grants may be pursued after the artist and their concept are chosen.
Fulks said, “This is just one piece of the ongoing plan to make La Grange better known within the arts community and a must-see stop for art lovers.”

• Submission materials should be sent to La Grange Main Street Program, La Grange Springs Park Committee, 208 E. Main St., La Grange, KY 40031. Details on artwork requirements can be found at www.lagrangemainstreet.org/lagrangespringspark.html. For more information contact Boulton at mecoll2@gmail.com. To view graphics of the park, go to www.lagrangemainstreet.org and click on the heading “La Grange Springs Park” at the top of the page.

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