No city boasts everywhere art and unexpected architecture quite like Columbus, Indiana. In fact, Columbus has been called one of the best cities in the world for architecture and design lovers. Designed by noted artists and adored by the community, these pieces of artwork are a must-see for any visitor!
Designed by Henry Moore, one of the most influential public sculptors of the twentieth century, Large Arch is the largest of its kind in the nation. Installed in 1971, it is located just outside of the Bartholomew County Public Library. Its abstract and organic form, made from sandcast bronze, provides a contrast to the sharp geometric shapes of the buildings that surround it.
World renowned architect, I.M. Pei, designed the Bartholomew County Library and suggested that the plaza needed a sculpture to enliven and “hold the space” around it. Subsequently, Xenia and J. Irwin Miller commissioned the sculpture and donated it to the library. The sculpture stands twenty-feet tall, twelve-feet wide and weighs five and one-half tons. Large Arch was designed to be interactive, allowing for guests to walk through and around the sculpture.
In Greek mythology, the winged Eos was the goddess of the dawn, and rose from her home at the edge of Oceanus, the Ocean, dispersed the mists of the night and opened the gates of heaven every day so that her brother, Helios, the sun, could ride his chariot across the sky.
The Eos sculpture in Columbus, Indiana is a beautiful tribute to the ancient Greek myth. Created by artist Dessa Kirk, the piece was originally part of the 2006 Sculpture Invitational. The community adored the sculpture so much that they hosted a fund drive to raise enough money to be able to keep Eos in town, permanently. Located at the 5th Street Median at the intersection of Brown and Lindsey, Eos faces the west as if she is rising with the sun from the eastern horizon. Seasonally, flowers and vines intertwine the skirt of Eos, making it even more extraordinary.
Created by Swiss artist Jean Tinguely and completed in 1975, Chaos I is a thirty-foot, seven-ton moving sculpture. Chaos I cycles through a series of motions, some intentionally noisy, to simulate a day in the life of a busy city. Tinguely gathered scrap metal from a local scrap yard for parts and pieces to use in this creation. The structure is unique and represents both the calm and busy aspects of the world around us.
In a town filled with unexpected art and everywhere architecture, Chaos I is incredibly special to the community. Located inside The Commons, Chaos I continues to move and delight in the heart of downtown Columbus, Indiana.
Created by Columbus sculptor Martin Beach, Modern Totem is an 8,000-pound mesabi black granite sculpture. The piece is an obelisk form consisting of two stacked, black granite stones, creating a modern and minimal interpretation of a totem, which is an ancient symbol of community, gathering and family.
Located in the space connecting the Visitors Center to Library Plaza, Modern Totem is a pleasant and calming piece. The library’s stone steps came from the same quarry as these granite stones.
Created by local artist, Rick Bauer, Skopos translates as “the watcher” in Greek. The sculpture sadly floated away during the flood of 2008; however, it was found downstream weeks later. Skopos was later re-installed at Mill Race Park, where it stands proudly today.
Daquqi, a nine-ton sculpture by Peter Lundberg, is located in Garton Plaza. The Daquqi takes its name from a Rumi poem. The piece is made of concrete and stainless steel that features a circular detailing done by the artist.
Sun Garden Panels
Created by artist Dale Chihuly, the Sun Garden in Suspended Circle consists of 32 hand-painted plexiglass drawings positioned inside a round skylight and backlit by the sun. Each drawing depicts one of Chihuly’s series. Come view this unique artwork at the Columbus Learning Center during the daytime, as rays of sun dance into the room through each unique drawing.
Yellow Neon Chandelier
You will find this beautiful hand-blown glass artwork inside the Columbus Area Visitors Center. Created by Dale Chihuly, the installation is nine feet tall and six feet wide and contains 900 hand-blown elements in shades of vibrant yellow.
You will find this unique piece alongside 3rd Street, between Jackson and Lindsey Streets in Columbus, Indiana. Designed by Robert Pulley, Ancestral Way is a series of hand-built ceramic sculptures consisting of eleven organic forms appearing to march in procession along the hillside as visitors exit the city.
Crack The Whip
A whimsical delight, Crack the Whip depicts four children playing crack the whip, a children’s game dating back to the late 1800s. Jo Saylors created this bronze sculpture with meticulous detail showing each child’s individual expression of joy and the distinct features of their hair and clothing. Visible in town from Hwy 46, between 1st and 2nd Streets, this public art piece is sure to make you smile. If you happen to drive by in the winter, you just might see these children lovingly bundled in scarves and hats.
Art and Architecture is everywhere in Columbus, Indiana. With so much to see, spend a few days with us to explore.
Looking for more? Check out our art guide to discover more remarkable art to experience in Columbus, Indiana.
- EOS photo by Don Nissen
- Large Arch photo by Hadley Fruits for Landmark Columbus Foundation
- EOS photo by Steve Risting
- Chaos I photo by Tony Vasquez
- Skopos photo by Don Nissen
- Daqiqi photo by Don Nissen
- Sun Garden Panels photo by S. Errara
- Yellow Neon Chandelier and Persians by Don Nissen
- Ancestral Way photo by Don Nissen
- Crack the Whip photo by Steve Risting