Old Town Keller has a new look. Well, partly.
The city recently switched out five of the sculptures in its rotating sculpture program. They will remain up until 2020, with six more to be replaced in 2019 (they were put up last year) and are free to the public.
"Keller has always been, in my mind, the full package. It’s why we chose it for our home so many years ago," Mayor Pat McGrail said. "Our residents’ passion for the arts and the programs that have grown out of that — whether it’s bringing the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra to town every year, hosting professional artists’ work at Town Hall on a regular basis or adding to our sculpture collection — are just one more thing that sets our community apart from others in the region."
The new pieces, their artists, and a brief description of their personal story, include:
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▪ “First Love” — Missy Vandable, Cedar Hill, bronze medium. Her work can be seen in private and public collections worldwide. She is known for capturing the intensity of the human spirit, striving to see the world through the eyes of a child.
▪ “Flurry” — Laura Walters, Dallas, steel. She said her work is about energy and the force that creates each divine life. Her philosophy is that stars, plants, animals and humans all have their own special uniqueness, yet are all part of one great, universal whole.
▪ “Swirling Shirley” — Stephanie Shroyer, Schulenburg, concrete. She said Concrete Couture or “hollow people” emerged as a healing process and reflection of the emptiness within her after the loss of her only son three years ago. The healing continues through her art.
▪ “Waterfall 2” — Pascale Pryor, Dallas, steel, colored slab glass and glass epoxy. She is the only artist with two pieces in the exhibit, with “Water Splash” selected as part of the 2017 program. She said adding beauty to the world makes her feel good. She likes to play with organic shapes and looks for natural elegance in her surroundings.
▪ “Starry Night” – Elizabeth Akamatsu, Nacogdoches, lacy intersecting planes of welded steel. It is a metaphor for the human condition, which is a complex union of the opposing forces of fragility and strength. Born in Japan and raised in Southern California, her art strives to celebrate a passion for precision and beauty and a reverence for the wonder of nature.
The Keller Public Arts Board will select Best in Show before the end of August after judging the pieces in person after installation. "Water Splash" was selected Best of Show in 2017.
All of the pieces in the program are for sale to the public. They are also displayed annually at the Keller Art Walk, this year on Nov. 10.
“Overall, the program has been well received by the Old Town businesses and visitors," said Sarah Hensley of Keller Public Arts. "We have an eclectic blend of sculptures, so everyone has their favorites, and the beauty of the program is that none of the pieces are there permanently."
The program includes $1,250 honorariums for each artist and a $500 bonus for the piece selected as Best in Show, which come from the Public Arts Special Revenue Fund. The fund includes monies collected from the 0.25 percent development fee adopted by the Keller City Council in 2015, donations, and commissions on art sales during the Town Hall rotating art shows.
"Great cities are known for their public art, and this is another opportunity to grow Keller’s reputation as an arts city within the Metroplex," Public Arts Board Chairwoman Brenda Wyatt said.