Tuesday, January 31, 2023

A Walk in the Art in Perrysburg

If you’ve walked through Perrysburg’s Woodlands Park recently, you might’ve noticed a few additions to the scenery — 18, to be exact.

Leaf Arch by Jim Gallucci. Photo credit: Andy Beavis.

Through August 2022, the Perrysburg Sculpture Walk will be set up for the public to enjoy either by foot or driving tour. Each piece of this exhibit was carefully selected by a jury of three experts: Robin Ballmer, Christine Deemer and Brody Walters. Ballmer, who is the Main ART-ery Director and curator of the sculpture walk, says the task of sifting through 176 submissions was a  long but fun feat.

“We wanted a mix of materials and something for everyone,” Ballmer says. “The three of us in the selection committee all come from different places, but all of us know art. We didn’t want anything in the show that people would walk by and say, ‘I could do that.’”

A mix is exactly what the selection committee chose. The sculpture walk features artists from five different states with all kinds of styles and mediums. Ballmer says during the installation phase of the exhibit, artists from all over were able to converge, discuss and get to know each other.

“The artists’ exchange is really nice,” she says. “When they’re in the area for the first time it’s a lot of fun.”

While the installation was a creative hub, it was also extremely tricky due to the massive size of the pieces. Ballmer credits Mike Sohikian, a well-known local sculpture artist and installation expert, for getting everything into place. His own award-winning sculpture entitled Veteran is displayed in the walk, as well. 

57 Descending by Colorado artist T.J. Aiken. Photo credit: Andy Beavis.

What You’ll See
In this year-long exhibit you’ll find unique large-scale sculptures that are not only interesting to look at, but have a fascinating background as well. For example, T.J. Aiken’s 57 Descending comes all the way from Coal Creek, Colorado and is made with glass-fiber reinforced concrete panels. The piece examines the automobile industry’s influence on America in 1911.

Fountain of Wishes by Robert Garcia. Photo credit: Andy Beavis.

Another piece from local artist, Robert Garcia, is made to be interactive. Fountain of Wishes invites you to walk inside and through this rolled steel and hand cut with a plasma torch design. Garcia melds sculpting with painting, as the steel is meticulously hand-painted.

It’s no wonder Ballmer can’t choose a favorite art piece. 

“I couldn’t pick one, because it’s just as much about the narrative and construction as it is about the art,” she says. “I like each one for specific reasons; the stories behind them and the diversity in the artists.”

Ballmer offers walking tours, but also points out that you can take the tour by yourself thanks to the QR codes paired with each sculpture that, when scanned, give you information about the sculpture and artist. The sculpture walk can also be enjoyed within a car and in the evenings the art is ablaze with lights.

The sculpture walk has already been a success and is to be repeated in August 2022. 

“It worked really well because Perrysburg Visitor’s Bureau wanted people to visit Perrysburg and I wanted to bring arts front and center to the area,” Ballmer says. “We made a good team.”

The sculptures are on display on the perimeter and entry area of Woodlands Park to the corner of East Boundary Street and East Indiana Avenue. For more information, visit www.mainart-ery.com.

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