Cabinet art work selected

By BETH CRACE State Journal Staff Writer Published:

Three Lexington artists will design sculptures to adorn the front of the new Transportation building downtown.

Transportation, the Finance and Administration Cabinet and the Kentucky Arts Council have commissioned artists Tony Higdon and Erika Strecker and Garry Bibbs to design two art pieces for the new building. The three were chosen after submitting designs to the state, and will be paid $50,000 and $70,000 respectively.

The pieces are scheduled for completion by spring 2004, according Transportation spokeswoman Selena Curry.

Strecker and Higdon's piece, "Nexus," will be located at the intersection of High, Holmes, and Mero Streets and will be 40 feet by 22 feet by 6 feet. Bibbs' sculpture, "Now Get," will be at the corner of St. Clair and Mero and will be 25 by 14 by 6 feet.

Higdon and Strecker, who work as blacksmiths and sculptors, will work together to construct Nexus. The pair, who are engaged, have collaborated before, but this will be their first joint public art project on display in their home state.

"We were extremely excited, being both of us from Kentucky," said Higdon. "It's a good thing to be able to represent the state as artists and to be able to place a piece of this scale in our home state is pretty exciting."

Higdon, a Lexington native and graduate of the University of Kentucky, also designs architectural pieces. Strecker, who grew up in Harrodsburg and graduated from Kenyon College in Gambia, Ohio, said she sometimes incorporates glass blowing into her sculptures. Both artists have master's degrees in sculpture.

Higdon calls Nexus an ode to the human imagination, paying homage to various forms of transportation. The piece is abstract, Higdon said, but has elements of early flying machines, the hull of a boat, and bridges. The overall form borrows its shape from the Kentucky River as it arches around the city.

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