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New sculpture will soon appear in Bloomington



A new sculpture will appear at the intersection of 10th and Madison avenues, as a gateway to the area known as the Trades District, no later than the end of 2021, and perhaps sooner.

Bloomington’s five-member redevelopment commission at its Monday meeting accepted the approximately $90,000 contract with Ignition Arts, LLC, an Indianapolis company, to produce and install the artwork designed by Stefan Reiss.

According to Bloomington’s assistant director of arts, Sean Starowitz, Reiss, who is based in Berlin, will be paid a $12,500 artist’s fee.

The funds are made accessible via the Percentage for Art Ordinance of the city. The local law states that for such city capital projects, one quarter of the budget needs to include a sum that is at least one percent of the contribution of the city to the total construction costs.

Reiss’s work will sit at the intersection on the second level of the tiered plaza area, Starowitz said at the RDC meeting on Monday.

In the summer of 2019, Bloomington’s arts commission chose the concept, which features square plexiglass tubes with LED lights arranged in angular patterns, from five finalists.

For maintenance, five to 10 percent of the budget is set aside, Starowitz told RDC representatives.

The artwork has been scaled down to fit the site, Starowitz said, which means there will be less maintenance. Related to maintenance, Starowitz said there would not be any grass around the piece, because that would cause consistent maintenance concerns. The lifespan of the LEDs is expected to be better than 10 years, Starowitz said.

The artwork by Reiss is part of an RDC project that started in 2014, to make infrastructure improvements in the Trades District area, which is just north of city hall. With the artwork added in, the project now has a total estimated cost of $7.4 million.

The Trades District parking garage, just southwest of the 10th and Madison location for Reiss’s sculpture, is expected to be finished in a couple of months.

The parking garage is a separate project with its own public art installation. Esteban Garcia was selected in October 2020 as the artist for the public art that will be installed in the Trades District parking garage. Garcia’s piece includes tiles that will, in part, be designed through community engagement workshops.

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