You don’t have to go very far in Columbus to get a taste of what the town is all about – namely, great art and architecture. Signing up for one of several tour options at the Visitors Center is certainly a fun and informative way to see what’s what, but it’s easy enough to simply stroll around and take in the town’s more than 40 attractive public art offerings.
Walking through Columbus seeking out public art is like embarking on your very own private treasure hunt. The Visitors Center itself is actually a great place to start, where employees can offer helpful tips on do-it-yourself excursions. The facility is also home to the brilliant “Yellow Neon Chandelier and Persians” chandelier by Dale Chihuly hanging in the stairwell. The flower-like creation is visible through the front windows of the building; guests are welcome to come inside for a closer look and great photo ops from several angles.
Large-scale sculptures abound in Columbus, from the kinetic “Chaos I” masterpiece by Jean Tinguely housed in the Commons building to Jo Saylors’ playful “Crack the Whip” bronze creation of four children chasing each other and Dessa Kirk’s glorious “Eos,” a tribute to the Greek winged goddess of the dawn. Renowned sculptor Henry Moore designed the looming arch that adorns the plaza outside the Bartholomew County Public Library, and a series of expansive murals grace the walls of Columbus buildings. And gearheads will want to stop in Cummins corporate headquarters to see Rudolph de Harak’s intriguing “Exploded Engine” in the lobby. The landscaping outside is lovely, too.
Kids can even get in on the action with a visit to the hands-on Luckey Climber, also located within the Commons. At 35 feet tall, this is Columbus’ largest (and perhaps most interactive) piece of public art. The public bike racks scattered throughout downtown also double as art with a colorful “C” design in keeping with the city’s marketing efforts.
Story and photos by Amy Lynch
For more information about Columbus’ vibrant collection of public art, call (800) 468-6564 or (812) 378-2622, or go to www.columbus.in.us.
Editor’s note: The Columbus Area Arts Council’s 2014 Sculpture Biennial will bring eight new sculptures to be installed in the Columbus Arts District in June. Additionally, a granite and limestone piece by local sculptor Martin Beach, commissioned by the Columbus Area Arts Council and the Columbus Museum of Art and Design, will be installed on the newly-refurbished space between the Columbus Visitors Center and the Bartholomew County Public Library. We can’t wait to check out all of the new public art that will be added this summer!