For months, Polish artist Jerzy Kedziora’s gravity-defying sculptures have prompted visitors to Schiller Park in Columbus’ German Village neighborhood to tilt their gaze upward.
The sculptures, many depicting acrobats and athletes floating in the air, were installed in late October and were scheduled to come down March 1. Instead, the sculptures will remain on display through September, and several new gravity-defying sculptures soon could replace them.
The Friends of Schiller Park started a fundraising campaign to commission five suspended sculptures by Kedziora for the park, said Katharine Moore, president of the group.
The current exhibition includes nearly three dozen sculptures spread among three Columbus parks and the Main Library. In addition to the Schiller sculptures, the ones in Thurber Park, 58 Jefferson Ave.; Livingston Park, 760 E. Livingston Ave.; and at the library, 96 S. Grant Ave., will remain through September.
The response, Moore said, has been overwhelmingly positive.
Moore said neighbors and strangers have told her they cannot go more than a few days without walking through Schiller Park to see the sculptures.
The sculptures weren’t supposed to stay up past March 1 because they are in the United States on exhibit-only “visas” and cannot be sold.
An out-of-town visitor reached out to Moore, asking if she could extend the sculptures’ stay and bring them to her city. Moore said she got the extension approved, but the other city dropped out, so Schiller Park got to keep them a little longer.
September’s extension will give Kedziora – who is working on exhibitions in Norway, the country of Georgia and Taiwan – enough time to craft the commissioned sculptures.
Some of the sculptures will be fan favorites, whereas others will be new creations, Moore said.
One of the commissioned pieces will replicate Kedziora’s “Rower,” which is suspended over the Schiller pond and depicts a man rowing just above the water.
Two pieces will be created for the island in the middle of the pond, and another two pieces probably would be new.
Moore said the Friends of Schiller Park needs to raise $125,000 by early April to make the commissions possible, have them shipped from Poland and pay the customs fees and other expenses of insurance, maintenance and installation.
Thankfully, she said, half of the amount already has been raised from large donors.
Moore said the organization is a 501(c)(3) organization, and all contributions are tax-deductible.
The organization is mailing information about the fundraising campaign to 4,000 households in the German Village, Schumacher Place, Merion Village and Brewery District neighborhoods, a first for the group.
“We’ve been way too German Village-centric in the past,” Moore said of the group supporting the park. “Schiller Park is the park for Schumacher Place, Merion Village and the Brewery District, too.”
Moore said she is glad the sculptures will remain through the German Village Haus und Garten Tour in June and even more excited to have Kedziora’s sculptures here to stay.
“When was there ever a public art exhibit that half the people didn’t hate?” Moore said. “It’s been universally loved.”
Schiller Park, 1069 Jaeger St., is named for Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (1759–1805), a famous German poet, playwright and historian.
A statue of him recast from the original in Munich, Germany, was dedicated to the park by the German-born residents who had settled the village. In 1905, the city renamed the park to honor him.
ThisWeek staff writer Gary Seman Jr. contributed to this story.