Gateway sculptors explain choices
“Upstream” and “Brookie” are the two sculpture concepts residents can vote on.
Sculptors Robert Markey of Ashfield, left, and John Sendelbach of Shelburne Falls are the finalists for the first "Gateway to Greenfield" sculpture contest.
GREENFIELD — Residents will decide by the end of March which of two sculptures created by local men will greet people indefinitely at the first “gateway” to Greenfield, which will be located on the former Food and Fuel site on Deerfield Street.
Robert Markey of Ashfield and John Sendelbach of Shelburne Falls are vying for the spot with their sculptures “upstream” and “Brookie,” and it is Greenfield residents who will decide by voting through March 25.
Sixty-five-year-old Markey’s sculpture, “upstream,” will be made of broken glass.
The artist, who has worked with children all over the world to create mosaics from broken glass, said the sculpture will include a mirror mosaic fish swimming along a river made of steel bars.
“I’m very interested in public art,” said Markey.
Sendelbach, who is also interested in public art, said his “Brookie,” fishermen’s colloquialism for brook trout, will sit atop a 12-foot pole. It will be made of donated cutlery.
“I wanted to involve everyone in this — I’d love someone to look up and say, ‘Hey, my spoon!’” said Sendelbach, 46. “I will be purchasing some of the materials, but I thought people would really like to be involved, so hopefully they will be donating their stainless steel cutlery.”
“I want to create a portal to the past and future with my sculpture,” he said.
Sendelbach said he chose cutlery because of the history of a cutlery factory, which was located just yards from the spot where the sculpture will stand.
“I did a lot of research when I decided to enter the contest,” said Sendelbach. “I wanted to incorporate Greenfield’s rich history, the efforts that have been under way to recreate a cold-water fishery in the Green River. Since the spot is on the river, I thought it would be appropriate.”
Sendelbach, who owns Metal Stone Arts in Shelburne Falls, said the 10-foot-long brook trout, back arched as if it is jumping out of the water, will spin atop a pole.
“It will spin and swivel whenever the wind takes it,” said Sendelbach. “I wanted it to move so that it will catch people’s eyes.”
Markey said he also thought about the river below the site when he came up with the idea for a fish swimming upstream.
“My initial proposal was a dancer, but as I thought about the river, I realized a dancer wasn’t right — it just didn’t come together,” said Markey. “I’ve done a lot of work with kids who have created fish. I’d never created one of my own and I thought this would be the perfect time. It fit.”
Markey said his sculpture will capture light and sparkle as it sits 10 to 12 feet above the property.
The Greenfield Gateway Sculpture Project grew out of Mayor William Martin’s idea to create “gateways” to Greenfield at all of the major entry points to the town.
Martin said he wanted several spaces that welcomed people with a mix of art, aesthetics and information.
The winning sculpture will be announced on April 20 at the Franklin County “little e” show, formerly the Franklin County Home Show and Green Fair.
The sculpture is expected to be installed sometime this coming fall, and at that time, the second contest will begin and the second “gateway” spot will be announced.
A jury consisting of Art in the Orchard founder Jean-Pierre Pasche, artist Astrid Scheckels, Greenfield Community College Dean of Humanities Leo Hwang, Turners Falls RiverCulture Director Lisa Davol, and Greening Greenfield member Sandra Boston, chose the finalists.
“The project has been a year in development,” said Susan Worgaftik, chairwoman of the project organizing committee. “We are thrilled with the quality of the work that was submitted and believe that the residents of Greenfield will be, too.”
Worgaftik said the two finalists were chosen from seven entries. She said the jury liked that the two concentrated on the relationship of Greenfield to the Green and Deerfield rivers.
Drawings of the two sculptures can be found online, in Wilson’s Department Store window at 258 Main St., and in Artspace Community Art Center, 15 Mill St.
Worgaftik said over the next four years, the project plans to place three more sculptures at key gateways into Greenfield.
Suggested gateways have included the Green River at Dunkin’ Donuts on the Mohawk Trail, the Interstate 91 “Welcome to Greenfield” billboard site, and French King Highway.
Residents may vote at Town Hall, Greenfield Public Library, or online at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2F822G3.
Voting will end March 25.
For more information, contact Worgaftik at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To see more of Markey’s art, visit: www.rmarkey.blue-fox.com.
To see more of Sendelbach’s art, visit: www.metalstonearts.com.