Ceremony set for Flamenco sculpture

The popular Flamenco public sculpture will be presented to the city of Columbus at a brief ceremony at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at its location at Fourth and Washington streets in front of The Commons.

While attention is focused on the bright red, 14-foot, stainless steel work, Columbus City Council president Frank Jerome has suggested that the piece be moved about 10 feet closer to The Commons to make it easier for pedestrians to see on the opposite sides of the street. He also suggests it be elevated from its base and possibly lit at night.

“It’s too close to the street corner,” Jerome said.

He also said it is too close to the silver traffic barriers near the street.

Artist Ruth Aizuss Migdal of Chicago said she is fine with all of those suggestions, while simultaneously aware that others will make those decisions.

“I think that lighting it certainly would be a good idea,” Migdal said.

Columbus Area Arts Council Executive Director Kathryn Armstrong, long a proponent of public art before she assumed her current post in June, is open to possibilities.

“I like all of Frank’s ideas,” Armstrong said. “However, I can’t confirm at this moment how this will proceed.”

She said a conversation about those ideas probably will begin sometime after the upcoming ceremony.

Arts advocate Geri Handley spearheaded a drive for local residents to collect and donate $40,000 last year and this year to buy the piece. They reached their financial goal May 13 at a Spanish-style fundraiser, “Fire & Grace,” at The Commons with Migdal as guest of honor to add the piece to the city’s permanent art collection.

“We had quite a few individual donors,” Handley said. “I hope that many of them can attend.”

It marks the second public sculpture in the past decade that residents have purchased. Private donors bought artist Dessa Kirk’s Eos winged woman sculpture, facing the entrance to Mill Race Park at Fifth and Lindsey streets, in 2007 for $35,000.

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at bblair@therepublic.com or 812-379-5672.