Over the weekend we used this space to “critique” Frankfort’s latest painting project — the Louisville Road bridge over Lafayette Drive — with its eye-catching sky blue color and its cursive welcome message. And while we remain steadfast in our belief that the bridge, which looks as though it was plucked from Disney World, seems out of place, we do welcome the addition of public art downtown.
At Friday’s Fiscal Court meeting, Franklin County Arts — also known as FrankArts — announced the winners of the national calls for murals and sculptures it made earlier in the year. Melanie VanHouten, director of Josephine Sculpture Park and FrankArts member, said the privately funded project whittled the nearly 100 submissions to 11 pieces.
While the locations of the three murals and eight sculptures have yet to be determined, FrankArts is looking at the possibility of placing one of the largest sculptures — “Daddylonglegs,” a 10½-foot-tall abstracted insect that sits on a 7½-by-5-foot base — on the Franklin County Courthouse plaza.
The site has earned the support of Circuit Court Judges Phillip Shepherd and Thomas Wingate, as well as Judge-Executive Huston Wells. Approval from the Administrative Office of the Courts is still pending.
The group hopes to begin having the sculptures installed in various locations in October. In addition to “Daddylonglegs” by John Parker, other selected sculptures include “Determination” by Don Lawler; “Chili Pepper” by Jim Collins; “In Motion” by Jeffrey Kieffer; “Cultured Stone” by Antoinette Schultze; “Exuberance” by Dave Caudill; and “Lo Fi” by Steve Parker. The sculptures will be displayed for about two years.
In the meantime, FrankArts officials plan on reviewing the proposals for murals with business owners in the near future. Murals became a hot-button topic earlier this year, prompting the city commission to pass an ordinance that requires an application process for artwork in the city’s historic district. However, VanHouten is confident the selected murals, created by professional juried artists and previously approved for exhibition, will pass muster under the ordinance.
Like many local folks, we are looking forward to the splashes of color and bold sculpture pieces and believe the project will rejuvenate drab parts of town and attract visitors downtown.