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Sculpture installed at library

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It took a crane and patience to maneuver Columbus’ newest piece of public art into its exhibit space Monday near the Cleo Rogers Memorial Library.

Taylor Brothers Construction workers and the artist, Martin Beach, worked together for about two hours to move the 8,000-pound granite sculpture, “Modern Totem,” into its base in a courtyard between the library and the Columbus Area Visitors Center.

The bottom half of the sculpture was hooked to a crane at 8:30 a.m. and cautiously lowered into place.

The lower piece sits on a pedestal with a metal securing spindle that rests in a sunken concrete base that’s topped with Indiana limestone.

The top piece, which offered no points for the crane to hook into, was roped with chain at one end and looped around with securing straps. The pieces were lowered onto waiting blobs of epoxy.

Construction workers then adjusted the installation to Beach’s preferences.

“It was just a textbook installation,” Columbus Area Art Council Executive Director Karen Shrode said. “I couldn’t be more pleased.”

Beach echoed the sentiment.

“It’s just kind of a nice wrap-up,” he said. “I’m glad everything went pretty smoothly. It was kind of a scary situation at some times, but nothing failed and no one got hurt.”

Installation of the 9½-foot sculpture was planned for Friday but was delayed due to logistical issues involving equipment.

Sharon Beach, the artist’s mother, stood by as her son and the construction crew finished the installation. She has seen the sculpture transform from a piece of granite to a work of modern art.

“He’s been really meticulous about everything,” she said. “It’s been an amazing project.”

Martin Beach worked with landscape architect Randy Royer of Blue Marble Design to ensure the piece fit with the library plaza’s overall design.

Royer originally planned to re-install “Iris,” a piece by Scott Westphal, that was located near the Visitors Center before renovations. But Royer was contacted by the Columbus Area Arts Council regarding using a commissioned piece.

Royer and Beach shared ideas on the concept, which resulted in “Modern Totem.”

“We talked about needing more of a column so it wouldn’t fight with the ‘Large Arch.’”

That sculpture by Henry Moore that sits on the other side of the plaza, in front of the library.

The Beach sculpture will be dedicated Friday in the library plaza restoration’s inaugural event, “Live on the Plaza,” which begins at 6:30 p.m.

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