City of Carmel
www.carmel.in.gov One Civic Square, Carmel, IN 46032
Date: April 26, 2006
Contact: Nancy Heck (317) 571-2494
Three More Sculptures Unveiled in Carmel Arts & Design District
Carmel, IN – Immediately after breaking ground for the EVAN LURIE FINE ART GALLERY on Thursday, April 20, Carmel officials unveiled three more sculptures in the Carmel Arts & Design District. These most recent additions to our collection join the “First Ride” sculpture that was unveiled last December along the Monon Trail during the Holiday in the Arts District event. All of the bronze statues are by artist J. Seward Johnson Jr., who is considered to be the “Norman Rockwell of American Sculpture.” Currently, all of the statues are located along Main Street between Range Line Road and the Monon Trail, but eventually, there will be more than a dozen positioned throughout the Arts & Design District.
The unique design of the sculptures turns heads in the district because of their life-like appearance. Johnson uses a technique to apply paint to the bronze sculpture making the life-size pieces appear realistic. Each of the designs selected fit the theme of the area in which it is located. The “First Ride” sculpture of a father helping his daughter learn to ride a two-wheel bike is located along the Monon Trail, just south of Main Street. The sculpture depicting a violinist street musician, titled “Sidewalk Concert,” is outside The Carmel Music Store on the north side of Main Street. The World’s Smallest Children’s Art Gallery, at the corner of Main and 1st
avenue NW, has a sculpture of a young girl watering flowers in the gallery’s garden, titled “There, Now You Can Grow.” The fourth sculpture is of a gentleman reading a newspaper on a bench, titled “Confirming Predictions” and is located just outside the future site of the Arts and Design District offices on the south side of Main Street between 1st Avenue SW and the Monon Trail.
“First Ride,” “Confirming Predictions,” and “There, Now You Can Grow” was paid for by the City of Carmel. The Carmel Economic Development Commission (CEDC) and the Carmel Redevelopment Commission (CRC) both put money towards the purchase of the “Sidewalk Concert” sculpture. These pieces of art were purchased as part of a growing collection of public art to be placed in the Arts & Design District. The statues are located within close proximity to one another and future additions will also be within walking distance of each other.
“The addition of these realistic sculptures enhances the enjoyment of a visit to the Carmel Arts & Design District. Visitors to the area will be able to discover the sculptures as they shop and dine in the area. Many will stop and have their picture taken with the sculpture to capture the moment. We realize the tremendous impact that the arts have on economic development and are investing in the district to help attract customers and businesses to the area,” said Mayor Jim Brainard.
Johnson wasn’t always a sculpture; he started as a painter and then, in 1968, he decided to try his hand at the medium of sculpture and has focused on life-size bronze cast figures. It turned out to be a great decision, as more than 200 pieces of Johnson’s work have been featured in private collections in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia, as well as prominent public places such as Rockefeller Center and the World Trade Center in New York City and Queen
Elizabeth Park in Vancouver, Canada. Johnson's work has also been selected for the International Sculpture Conference Exhibition and is sited in Washington, D.C. on a long term loan. He has also had exhibitions in the Galleria Ca D'oro, Piazza di Spagna, Rome, the RW Norton Art Museum, the Knoxville Museum of Art, the Wave Hill Sculpture Park, the Jacksonville Art Museum at Yale University, and solo exhibitions in Connecticut, New Jersey, Texas, California, New York, Washington, D.C., as well as in Mexico and Canada.
The CEDC investigates studies and surveys the need for additional job opportunities for the City of Carmel and serves as a recommending body to the City Council for certain offerings of economic development incentives to businesses locating in Carmel. Current members include President Ersal Ozdemir, Mike Rusnak, and Luci Snyder.
The CRC is responsible for the redevelopment efforts of both the Old Town and City Center projects. In addition, the CRC manages other public-private partnerships where city land is being redeveloped to improve economic growth of targeted areas of Carmel. The Mayor and City Council appoint members of the CRC. Current members include President Ron Carter, William Hammer, Jerry Heniser and Rick Sharp.