VALPARAISO | William Walther watched with some concern as workmen carefully placed his sculpture "To Hope" on the concrete pads next to Cumberland Drive on Thursday.
Several of the artists were on hand to oversee the placement of their works as part of the new array for the Valparaiso Art Walk. The city's Redevelopment Commission is paying the $21,675 cost of leasing the artworks, which will be on display for a year.
Walther, of Muskegon, Mich., said his piece represented a reclining figure with one leg bent and resting inside the other. He said the inspiration was his own Achilles tendon injury, and teardrop holes are cut into the piece to symbolize the pain. Portions of the piece are meant to serve as a bench for art walkers to rest.
"I didn't make it to be a bench, but it turned out that way," Walther said. "I changed the design along the way."
Toledo, Ohio, artist Todd Kime said his sculpture called "Bounce" was the result of "playing around with sketches of arches and someone said 'It looks like a bouncing ball.' And it just clicked. A lot of my work is whimsical and fun, and it's got color and movement to it."
Kime and his wife own an architectural firm. He's been sculpting for seven years and called the pastime his therapy.
"I spend all day creating for other people. The art allows me to do what I want to, and through shows like this I get to share it," he said.
He does a lot of his work in the welding class at Owens Community College near Toledo, where he studies under James Havens, who also has a piece selected for the art walk. His "Big Dancer" is featured next to the entrance to the Valparaiso YMCA.
"I'm very pleased to be in Valparaiso," Havens said. "The 'Big Dancer' is ideal for this location. I'm into geometry big time. I try to bring a high level of craftsmanship and use the best materials. I was an ironworker and I loved it, but this is more fun. And it's paying its own way now."
The artists receive $700 each to have their works displayed, and each piece is for sale. If they sell while on display in Valparaiso, the redevelopment commission gets a percentage of the sale price. Prices range from $1,875 to $120,000.
This is the second year of the art walk, and redevelopment commission Exceutive Director Stuart Summers said none of the sculptures from the first group sold. All the pieces are arranged through the Midwest Sculpture Initiative, which works with about a dozen communities in the Midwest.