January 28, 2008
Gather 'round for downtown's summer art project
Gather 'round! The Downtown Racine Corporation has chosen a large sphere for Racine's 2008 public art event.
Call it a globe ... well, at least until 75 artists transform each piece into something else. The art pieces start out as a 32-inch-diameter sphere on a molded base ... molded fiberglass weighing about 30 pounds.
Artists will be able to decorate their creations in the same way the city's previous projects -- dogs, cats, bears, fish, otters, birdbaths and lighthouses -- were turned into imaginative and individualistic sculptures over the past seven years.
"Our goal is to offer a form conducive to our artists' medium of choice -- painting, mosaics, collage, mixed media, and so on," said Terry Leopold, DRC's director of special events.
"We envision creative interpretations such as the sun, moon, globe or planets and everything from whimsical garden art to sophisticated and dramatic art pieces for homes and offices."
The finished creations will be displayed Downtown throughout the summer.
Contest for everyone: The project starts with a "Name the event" contest open to everybody. If you have a great slogan or catchy phrase to describe the 2008 public art event, DRC wants to hear from you. All entries must be submitted to DRC by 5 pm. on Thursday, Feb. 14. Entries should be mailed to DRC at 425 Main Street, Racine, 53403. The winner will receive a $50 Downtown gift certificate.
Information for artists: Packets for artists are available online or can be picked up at the DRC office. Artists will be awarded a stipend to cover some of their costs, and cash prizes will be awarded for the 'Best of Show' completed projects, as determined by a panel of judges. First Place will win $3,000; Second Place will win $2,000 and Third Place, $1,000.
All design proposals must be submitted to DRC by Friday, Feb. 29. Judges will choose from among the proposals and will notify artists by mail of the final selections.
Sponsorships: Businesses and individuals are invited to sponsor the various art pieces. Sponsorship is $550 per sphere, and all donations are tax deductible. Each sponsor's name will be displayed on a plaque. Sponsorship forms are available online or at DRC's office.
Local company makes the spheres: Fiber-Tech, Inc., of Franksville, which normally fabricates custom molded assemblies for the agricultural, construction, mass transit and other markets, is making this year's art project.
The spheres are made of fiberglass finished with a smooth gel coat surface. It was designed by Doug Kowalski, a Fiber-Tech project engineer, using computer aided 3D software "When he presented the model to me," said Dale Rogers, president of Fiber-Tech, "I said, 'That ought to put Racine on the map.' "
The mold's two halves are joined together to form a hollow sphere. Fiber-Tech is producing one to one and a half spheres a day.
When not making spheres, the company has made such diverse projects as 23-ft. long fiberglass hot dogs which serve as the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile, car bodies for a manufacturer of customized replicas of the 1960's LeMans racer, and front bumpers for Amtrak trains.