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CROWN POINT — A 20-foot cast aluminum tooth arrived at the Sportsplex with the monumental piece joining 12 life-size sculptures being showcased in the city's annual public art project.

The statues will be on display through November in what marks the third consecutive year the city has teamed up with Seward Johnson Atelier Inc. on the project. The works by sculptor Seward Johnson arrived Monday and are in place around the downtown square.

They represent people doing common, everyday activities and include a boy and girl sharing ice cream, a man playing a guitar, a worker who spilled paint holding a ladder, a photographer and a woman heading to a picnic.

"The Tooth" traveled by semitrailer from its base in Hamilton, New Jersey, where Johnson's studio is located. It marks the first time "The Tooth" has left the East Coast. 

Like last year's giant Abraham Lincoln statue, the tooth is near the entrance to the Sportsplex. It is joined by two life-size statues and a bench. 

"I think the tooth, as great as Lincoln was, will stimulate that conversation, sometimes controversy," said City Councilwoman Carol Drasga, who spearheads the project as a member of the Art in Point Project committee. "I think that's great. I think that is what art should do. It makes people talk. 

"It's more kitsch, but I think it's going to be a great piece for our city."

Jamie Smith, installer for Seward Johnson Atelier, said "The Tooth" got a lot of looks while traveling from New Jersey before arriving in Crown Point Wednesday.

"A lot of people stop and ask for photos," she said. 

Smith, who travels the world installing Johnson's sculptures, said the artist is 86 years old "and still rocking." 

The city's Redevelopment Commission approved a $51,000 contract with The Seward Johnson Atelier Inc. for the sculptures. The cost will be shared with sponsors of the bronze-colorized sculptures.

The Redevelopment Commission in October gave an endorsement to do the sculpture program for another two years.

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Lake County reporter

Rob covers urban affairs and other matters in Crown Point, St. John, Winfield and beyond. Previously he covered Valparaiso, Hammond, Gary and East Chicago. He's also written for various magazines and pens a culture blog for The Times.