A Dyer artist, who painted a 5,000-square-foot, block-long mural for Indianapolis in honor of Super Bowl XLVI, also will be creating a suspended artwork for the new Crown Point Community Library.
Tom Torluemke's "The Reader" was chosen from four designs presented to the Art Committee and library's Board of Trustees.
"We basically felt that this piece was very thought-provoking and would engage our patrons," said Art Committee Chairwoman Laura Clemons. "The mobile is movable and our patrons are going to get a different view every time they come to the library."
"The Reader" will be made of painted ash and birch woods. Torluemke's mobile is loaded with symbolism inspired by the library's mission — "Read, Discover and Connect in the Library" — in combination with elements of literature and Crown Point history.
Symbols include the sun's rays with an open book releasing knowledge, arms for man striving to advance, a hat and a book for a reader, an apple for education, a scroll for learning, a key to knowledge and two rings for Crown Point's marriage mill, with small cars on the blue ring honoring the Cobe Cup race.
There also is a cat's cradle at the bottom, representing the novel written by Indiana author Kurt Vonnegut, and a question mark for curiosity.
On Monday, the library board approved a $46,200 contract with Torluemke, which includes the artist fee, fabrication, insurance, materials, engineering, installation, equipment rental, lighting fixtures, electrical and a 20-year warranty. Track lighting will illuminate the piece.
"The Reader" will be suspended from the second floor of the new library at 122 N. Main St. It will be visible from the entrance and second floor lobbies and is expected to be installed by July 15.
Torluemke's 350-foot mural in Indianapolis is titled "Simple Pleasures." It is a modern graphic style painting depicting 80 figures enjoying the simple memory-making pleasures of life such as a child's birthday party, knitting, dinner with grandparents, walking in the woods and reading.
In addition to mural painting, Torluemke works in a variety of media, including stage design, mosaics, oil and acrylics, watercolors and sculpture.
His public work includes "After Glow" at the Chicago Cultural Center, "The Inland Sea: Contemporary Art Around Lake Michigan" at Chicago's Jan Cicero Gallery, "Present" at the Hyde Park Art Center, "In the Company of Strangers" at Valparaiso's Brauer Museum of Art, "Bounce" at the South Bend Regional Museum, "Peace in the Arts" at the Baihai International Peace Conference in San Francisco, the Alabama Watercolor Society Exhibition at the Birmingham Museum of Art, "In Indiana" series at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the mural at the Indianapolis-Marion County Library and two 1,000-square-foot terrazzo floors for the Indianapolis International Airport.
Born and raised in Chicago, Torluemke began drawing at an early age to communicate with his great uncle Freddy who was deaf and mute.
"We drew pictures back and forth," he said.
His interest in public art was inspired in 1967 by watching African-American artist William Walker paint a mural titled "Wall of Respect" in Chicago at 43rd Street and Langley Avenue.
"We lived near there and my mom would take me by and I watched them paint this civil rights mural," he said. "It really moved me that these guys were able to do that with a public forum. I think that in the large part motivates me to create public art because everybody sees it and if you think of important things when you create the art, something for humanity, it can speak loudly to all the people who keep seeing it year after year."