(C. Proxmire, photos: Ferndale DDA, June 29, 2012)
“Dryopteris Dilatata in Steel” is the newest artwork unveiled as part of Downtown Ferndale’s ARTWN [Art Town], a two-year art project promoting all that is artsy about the community. The program is funded with DDA dollars and sponsorships, mainly Motor City Casino, and it enabled Downtown Ferndale to get 11 new sculptures and to promote much of the creative work that has already been happening here naturally.
The Rust Belt, an eclectic and popular weekend artists market at 9 and Woodward is home to the newest sculpture. It was also the scene of a $50-a-ticket black tie and sneakers event on Thursday night to help raise money towards purchasing public art. The sculptures are on loan to the DDA for two years, though they hope to raise enough money to purchase at least two of them permanently.
“ARTWN is meant to really highlight and showcase the creative culture of downtown Ferndale,” said DDA Director Cristina Sheppard-Decius. “What we’re doing is installing more public art for everyone to enjoy as well as then bringing attention to our businesses and what they are doing that is both creative and artistic within their own businesses. A lot of times you’ll be walking around Downtown Ferndale, going into coffee shops you’ll see art on the wall you might not always think that is there as part of a showcase of art from a local artist, but most times it is. ….I really hope that people will enjoy this. Art is economic development…It does encourage people to come out and spend time in their downtown and come as a visitor to an area that they might not always go to.”
Event attendees met at the Rust Belt for fancy food and music, as well as an art-filled silent auction. They also toured the city, looking at the eleven sculptures as well as other art, like the DIA Inside Out series of works that was also recently installed in six Downtown Ferndale locations.
Earlier in the day, Richard Gage of Richard Gage Design Studios and a hoisting crew met at the NE corner in front of Como’s to put in one of his creations “Bent Brush.” The 15-foot-tall steel creation required a crane to lift it into the air and a couple of people to secure it to the concrete base. Gage said he’d found the giant cables several years ago and had been holding onto them for the right project. Watch the video below for more.
The day before, one of the projects sculptures, The Red Ram located at 9 Mile and Livernois had been stickered with the name PEZ. The sculpture, a blood-red ram set upon a red I-beam was often likened to a PEZ candy dispenser even before the unauthorized addition. The debate over whether the addition was vandalism or an improvement had the Ferndale 115 News page quite busy. Unconfirmed sources say wheat glue was used and that it is easily removable. The DDA let the letters remain for their event.
To learn more about art in Downtown Ferndale, checkout our previous art stories, or simply get out and walk around. And enjoy.