By the end of the summer, Westerville's Towers Park will have a large, new focal point.
The city commissioned Worthington sculptor Anthony Ball and his Columbus studio, Tork Collaborative Arts, to design a piece of art that would double as a shelter.
With that in mind, Ball and his team, which includes his wife, Tracie, began working on what he calls a "sculptural canopy," a multi-paneled structure that stands 23 feet wide and 17 feet high.
"To me, it feels like the most over-the-top piece we've ever made," Ball said with a laugh.
The piece gets its structure from an aluminum frame, which is filled with a mosaic meant to look like a "dandelion puff" at its top. Shiny golden bees and butterflies will fly around the structure, and the inside will be mirrored so people can see themselves from above.
In what he called "one-upsmanship of myself," Ball said, he hopes the piece is something "nobody's ever seen before."
"It's a really cool piece. It's beyond anything I'd ever imagined," he said. "Seeing it all come together has been a labor of love. It's taken longer than I thought, but it's going to be worth it in the end."
Anthony and Tracie Ball agree that the mirrored inside of the shelter will bring an "interactive" quality to the work, almost reminiscent of Chicago's reflective Cloud Gate sculpture, known to many as the Bean.
"That's what I like about this project," Tracie Ball said. "It's complete when it's viewed."
Anthony Ball and his Tork team have done work all around the city, including the dragon in front of Molly Woo's in Worthington and Inniswood Metro Gardens' sunflowers.
He said he took inspiration from the Robert Frost poem "Nothing Gold Can Stay," and aimed to express "the wonderment of nature."
"My favorite thing is to engage a child with wonder," he said. "There's nothing like it."
Tracie Ball said that's her husband's sweet spot.
"He's really good at capturing that place between detail, realism and that thing that makes us feel like a kid again," she said.
The sculpture is expected to be revealed in late August or early September in Towers Park, 161 N. Spring Road.
For more information about Tork, visit www.TorkWorks.com.