Twisted Botanical Wave, made of aluminum and metallic paint, was sculpted by New Jersey artist Mary Angers and was installed Thursday in front of Vincennes University's Art and Design building as part of the 2021 First City Public Sculpture Exhibition. Staff photo by Jenny McNeece
Twisted Botanical Wave, made of aluminum and metallic paint, was sculpted by New Jersey artist Mary Angers and was installed Thursday in front of Vincennes University's Art and Design building as part of the 2021 First City Public Sculpture Exhibition. Staff photo by Jenny McNeece
First City Public Sculpture Exhibition organizer Andrew Jendrzejewski worked alongside Vincennes University’s maintenance staff Thursday morning to place three outdoor sculptures on campus.

The large sculpted works were selected as part of the 2021 exhibit, which is sponsored by the Northwest Territory Art Guild and co-organized by Jendrzejewski and Amy DeLap, both retired art professors and current owners of Art Space Vincennes LLC.

Near the campus administration building, students, staff and visitors will now be greeted by Elli3, a tall steel sculpture created by Decatur artist Greg Mendez.

Twisted Botanical Wave, made of aluminum and metallic paint, was sculpted by New Jersey artist Mary Angers and is installed in front of the Art and Design building near Second Street and College Avenue.

A fiberglass sculpture — Abstract #29 — by Robert Porreca from Columbus, Ohio now stands in a flower box near the front entrance of the Learning Resource Center on campus.

The 2020 exhibit — the first year of the new public sculpture program — featured seven outdoor pieces by artists across the nation, and in 2021 nine new sculptures were selected to be added across the city.

But, says Jendrzejewski, difficulties getting cement bases poured for the artwork caused delays in the installation of some of the 2021 sculptures.

The three 2021 sculptures placed Thursday morning join five others that were placed near the end of last year — three at Gregg Park, one at Fireman’s Park, and an additional sculpture added to the existing 2020 exhibit on the Riverwalk.

Two years ago, the local art guild, a non-profit organization located at 316 Main St., selected Jendrzejewski and DeLap to lead the First City Public Sculpture Exhibition.

Thanks to a grant from the Indiana Arts Commission and a financial gift from the Vincennes City Council, as well as individual donations, DeLap and Jendrzejewski were able to put out a national call to artists for large sculpted works to be installed at sites around the city for the 2020 exhibit.

With various funding sources agreeing to support the project once again, the committee was able to review dozens more proposals submitted from all over the United States, all of them clamoring to be part of the 2021 show.

Now, says DeLap, they have put out the call for the 2022 exhibition.

“We’re planning on at least five more pieces for 2022, maybe more,” she said.

Using a high traffic online arts platform to reach artists across the nation, they have received sculpture proposals from artists living as far away as Oregon and New Hampshire over the past two years.

As with the sculptures installed in 2020 and 2021, each one included this year will be on loan from the artist for a three-year period, but with an option for a business or individual to buy the artwork and therefore have it permanently placed in Vincennes.

Jendrzejewski says there has been some interest expressed by local residents and organizations to purchase some of the pieces.

“There hasn’t been an official offer yet, but there are three or four people and entities thinking about it and working it, and the prices are extremely low for what they would be getting,” he said.

A couple of local organizations, too, are kicking around the idea of creating a sculpture park, though funding avenues are still being researched.

“But it’s an exciting possibility to consider,” Jendrzejewski added.

The pair of organizers say at the conclusion of the 2022 exhibition they will step back from their leadership position of the project but hope to see it continue on.

“I’m worn out and need to lighten up the load a little bit,” Jendrzejewski said with a laugh. “But there is someone interested in taking over the leadership, so it is possible the project will continue.”

Until then, Jendrzejewski and DeLap will continue moving forward, overseeing the installation of another sculpture next month, reviewing new proposals for the 2022 exhibit, and creating a sculpture map to be printed and available at places like the Vincennes Knox County Visitors and Tourism Bureau.

Jendrzejewski says he hopes residents continue to appreciate the expansion of public art across the city.

“We hope the community can see that these sculptures are doing some good for the community,” he said.
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