Another Sculpture Planned for Park

Information reprinted with permission of the Courier Times, local newspaper New Castle, Indiana www.thecouriertimes.com

Another sculpture planned for park

Posted: Thursday, October 20, 2016 6:00 am

New Castle Parks Board members have approved another piece of art for the sculpture garden being created in Murphey Park at the corner of 15th Street and Grand Avenue.

Main Street New Castle Executive Director Carrie Barrett recently appeared before the parks board with a request to move forward with construction of a second metal sculpture honoring New Castle-born pop artist Robert Indiana. The first sculpture, a reproduction of Indiana’s iconic LOVE print, is nearing completion and will be placed either later this year or early next spring. An identical LOVE sculpture will be placed in the Arts Park at 15th and Broad streets.

The newest sculpture will be a reproduction of Indiana’s ART print and, like the LOVE sculpture, will be cut out by Metal Art of Middletown and assembled by students in the welding program at New Castle Career Center. The preliminary cost for the ART sculpture is $2,850, which is being paid for with funds received as part of a grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs. 

The OCRA grant was to help pay for development of the Robert Indiana Arts and Culture District. As part of the effort to revitalize downtown New Castle, the Main Street organization is creating an area that will eventually include various art and education components, rain gardens, youth sculptures, art pads and other enhancements. The district includes the Arts Park, the Artisan’s Annex and Art Association of Henry County building, New Castle-Henry County Public Library, Murphey Park adjacent to the old armory and the Henry County Historical Society Museum. It runs from Broad Street to A Avenue along 15th Street.

Barrett envisions the northwest corner of Murphey Park, where several large rocks currently are located, adorned with metal sculptures. A path or walkway will connect the sculpture garden with the recently refurbished armory and meander through the sculptures, which will be decoratively lighted. 

“I think this will tie in well with the armory and functions there like weddings,” board president Patty Broyles said. “I think all this will look nice ... and will work well with the Robert Indiana idea.”

The board also heard from former member Bruce Roberts, who organizes and helps host a bluegrass music jam at shelter house No. 1 in Baker Park every Monday evening from May through the first Monday in October. Roberts said the program was especially well received this year with as many as 145 people in attendance one Monday in July when free watermelon and cantaloup were served.

“We have people from all surrounding areas come and play music: Greenfield, Connersville, Portland, Muncie, Anderson, even one guy who is a professor at Taylor University,” Roberts said.

He asked the board what he needed to do to reserve the shelter house from 6 until 9 p.m. Mondays next summer so the open jam, which dates back at least 10 years, can continue. Kendra Kennedy, Mayor York’s administrative assistant who takes care of shelter house reservations, indicated she would be happy to do as Roberts requested.

Board member David Nantz asked Roberts if there was anything the board could do to assist him in making the Monday evening jam sessions even more successful. Roberts said use of the shelter house and helping spread the word about it was plenty, although he did request additional benches for visitor use.

Broyles thanked Roberts for his involvement and interest and said improvements to Baker Park restrooms and security should make the experience even more enjoyable in coming years.

The parks board will next meet at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 7 in council chambers on the second floor of the New Castle Municipal Building, 227 N. Main Street.