Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center
Sculpture, speeches kick off construction of Arts Center
What is 12-feet high, kind of round, made of rattan, and filled with discarded plastic bottles?
The very first piece of art to grace the grounds of the Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center of Worthington.
The sculpture, which will stand on the front lawn of the Arts Center until the end of the summer, was unveiled last Friday afternoon.
Crowds of arts supporters and eager community members came together to help fill the sculpture, and many returned to the spot on Saturday morning for the official celebration of the renovation of the Arts Center.
Beginning later this summer, the old Packard Annex building will be renovated and an addition will be built, transforming the old school building into a facility for all kinds of art performances, exhibits, classes and meetings.
"We're really excited," said neighbor Beth Seech, who brought her daughter to help fill the rattan sculpture with plastic bottles on Friday. "We're all going to take classes."
The sculpture was made by Ohio University art instructor William Cravis, who built the rattan structure in Athens, then moved it onto the Arts Center lawn on Friday afternoon.
His proposal was selected from among 15 applications for Project Green. Through the project, the Worthington Arts Council hoped to spotlight ecology as well as art.
"Part of the original idea was to do something visually pleasing while all of this construction is going on," said Arts Council director Elizabeth Jewell.
Cravis said rattan is considered a "green" material because it grows back almost as soon as it is harvested.
"It is a symbolic material for this regenerative event," he said.
The plastic bottles that fill about one-third of the sphere were donated by Worthington residents and collected at various locations around the community over the past two months.
That, too, is symbolic, since the arts center is a collaborative effort of the Arts Council, the city of Worthington and the Worthington City Schools.
On Saturday morning, representatives of each spoke about the effort, and about their excitement to see the project move forward.
"This center will be community-based in the truest sense of the phrase," said Arts Council board president Bob Reber.
Looking on, Riverlea resident Neil Mortine said the center will be "fabulous."
"It's going to be a great gathering place for the whole community," he said.