Upper Arlington News

Plan would bring nine Tibor sculptures to UA


Upper Arlington city officials will host a public meeting May 15 to discuss plans to install nine Alfred Tibor sculptures, valued at $450,000, in Parkway Park and to rename the park Tibor Parkway, in honor of both the artist and his older brother, who died in a Nazi prison camp during the Holocaust.

A location for the meeting was still being finalized at press time, but it will start at 6:30 p.m. Residents living near the park will be notified, and the meeting's time and locale will be publicized on the city's website, uaoh.net.

"Alfred Tibor is a world-renowned sculptor whose work is in both public and private collections," said Lynette Santoro-Au, arts manager of the Upper Arlington Cultural Arts Division. "Now, I think he's thinking about his legacy and what he's leaving behind.

"It's very meaningful to him to be able to share his work with others, even when he's no longer here. This is huge for Upper Arlington."

Currently, the city has permanent artwork displayed in five other parks.

In addition to the public meeting May 15, Upper Arlington City Council's approval would be required to authorize the installation of Tibor's work and the renaming of Parkway Park.

"We expect people will embrace this and understand how significant this is," Santoro-Au said.

Because of personal scheduling conflicts, Tibor wasn't available for comment prior to press time for ThisWeek Upper Arlington News.

According to various interviews given by Tibor, he estimates his age to be 94. He was born in and grew up in Hungary. He now lives in Bexley.

In addition to being drawn to art at a young age, he was an accomplished gymnast who qualified to compete for Hungary in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, but when he attempted to register for the team, he was turned away when it was discovered he was Jewish.

Born Alfred Goldstein, Tibor has said he served six years in a prison camp after being rounded up by both the Hungarian government and Nazi Germany. He changed his name in honor of his brother, Tibor Goldstein, who died in a prison camp in 1945. Many other family members also died in prison camps during the Holocaust.

In 1947, Alfred was freed from a prison camp in Siberia. He emigrated to the United States in 1957.

"Children must have the opportunity to learn and live in freedom," Tibor recently wrote to Santoro-Au about his move to America.

Regarding his art, Tibor wrote that he creates works that reflect life and inner feelings of humans.

"I feel that 'art for art's sake' is not enough," he wrote to Santoro-Au. "I want to create sculptures that both express and evoke human emotion.

"Life is a celebration. Freedom to me means being able to fully express myself. I was held back by human beings, by regimes, by Nazis, by Communists. I couldn't be what I want to be. I now have the freedom to express my thoughts, to explore my ambition."

Santoro-Au said Tibor's process is to create a wax version of the work and then a maquette, or model, of the piece in bronze.

His bronzes are on exhibit at Argo & Lehne Jewelers in Upper Arlington. Santoro-Au said Argo & Lehne Chief Executive Officer Robert Argo facilitated Tibor's conversations with her about donating works to the city.

She said the city is interested in permanently displaying the sculptures at the park to foster ongoing appreciation of the arts in the community and to help preserve Tibor's work and legacy.

"All of our art in community spaces have information about them in a brochure we've created," she said. "For Alfred's, in particular, we'll have a lengthy explanation of the background of the pieces and the story of his life.

"It is so moving that really, it would be a shame if we didn't have that background information."