Marysville News

Teacher seeks funds for public art project

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These small models by artist Rodolfo Perez-Moreno depict what the sculptures would look like if built.

A trip down Coleman’s Crossing Boulevard could become an artistic treat for Marysville drivers if a local teacher has her way.

Martha Rockwell, an intervention specialist at Harold Lewis Center, is seeking funding to build four sculptures honoring the children of Union County at the corner of Charles Lane and Coleman’s Crossing Boulevard.

Rockwell said a walk gave her the idea.

In fall 2010, she was setting up signs on Charles Lane to direct people to a craft fair at the school. As she walked across an open oval of grass, she got an idea that the space needed a sculpture.

“It was almost like the land spoke to me or something,” Rockwell said.

Rockwell proposed the idea to her boss, who loved it. Since then, the project has been a passion for Rockwell as well as a journey. Now, she’s seeking funding to make her dream a reality.

“We’re just getting started,” she said.

U-CO Industries will serve as the fiscal agent for the project. U-CO is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that serves adults with developmental disabilities. Both U-CO and the Harold Lewis Center, which provides early childhood education, are part of the Union County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

Memorial Limited Partnership c/o Collier’s International has donated land where the statues would be erected.

The public art project, officially called “The Hopes and Dreams of Our Youth,” was approved Jan. 8 by the Marysville Design Review Board.

“The artist could start work on the project if he had at least 40 percent of the funds,” Rockwell said. “No one is committed yet, but we did apply for a philanthropic grant through Honda of America. We’re hoping we’ll receive some funding from them, but we won’t know until the end of March.”

The sculptures would be created by Rodolfo Perez-Moreno, an artist Rockwell met through a parent of one of her students. Perez-Moreno drew sketches and made small models to illustrate the concept.

“The design has stayed roughly the same since then, but we’ve been tweaking it. At first, he did not have facial features at all. Since we are a center for disabilities, we felt like we would like to include a child with disabilities within the sculptures,” Rockwell said.

The four sculptures would be placed in a circular arrangement to create a park-like atmosphere, Rockwell said. She predicted the sculptures would stand 6 to 8 feet tall. One sculpture shows a young girl sitting in the grass, while the others depict a soccer player diving for a ball, a child sitting on a rock and pretending to be riding a horse, and a mother reading to a small child.

There are two cost proposals for the project, depending on what material is used. Bronze sculptures would cost $188,360, while fiberglass with a bronze patina would cost $85,772. Rockwell said she has been assured both materials would last, but she would prefer to use bronze.

Perez-Moreno was born in Costa Rica. He and his wife moved to Marysville in 2000, but his wife was recently transferred by Nestle to Bakersfield, Calif. He said he would continue his work on the project and bring the sculptures to Marysville. He said the project would take approximately 18 months to complete.

Rockwell hopes to raise enough money to get work started soon. The project must break ground within two years of the date it was approved by the Design Review Board.

“I would like it to be an enjoyable thing to see. I would like it to say to people that the youth of our community are important to us,” Rockwell said.

Anyone interested in donating to the project can contact Rockwell at 937-645-6714 or mrockwell@ucbdd. org.

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