Bt Dennis Forney
(“Uniting Sun” sculpture at the southern entrance to Holland, Michigan. DENNIS FORNEY PHOTOS)
Outdoor public art offers an opportunity for communities to put their best foot forward. Things like beautiful plantings, sculpture and outdoor paintings invite us to pause in our daily activities, drink in an image and feel how it rests in our brains.
Sculptures of accomplished people can remind us of the qualities that brought them reverence. If I were asked who in Delaware's Cape Region should be honored with a sculpture, I wouldn't hesitate. Cheryl Blackman. She would be placed prominently on the Boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach, near the WCTU fountain, and the piece would depict her doing what she did best: selling tickets to benefit those in need, dressed in holiday garb, her costume only outshone by her smile. She forgot her own limitations, cultivated contagious cheerfulness, enjoyed the accomplishment of work, and smiled and showed selfless appreciation right up until the end.
Qualities like that - attributes to share with children - deserve permanence and celebration.
On a long bicycle ride to Michigan in late summer, a wide variety of public art pieces halted the rhythm of our progress. They provided welcome resting places, and gave us opportunities to learn and reflect.
Along the Maryland and Pennsylvania border, simple concrete cubes arranged artistically and linearly celebrate the surveying achievement of Charlie Mason and Jeremiah Dixon. For hundreds of thousands, that installation has made for a hiking, bicycling or walking destination combining history and outdoor recreation. It has also boosted the tourism economy for nearby communities.