City group plans sculptures event

    People coming from out of town to view Decatur's sculptures? A special event featuring those sculptures?
    It could materialize in the next year or so if a group of citizens is able to organize and bring to fruition what they're calling the Decatur Sculpture Walk. Current plans call for the walk to take place August 18-25 of next year, prior to the annual Kekionga Festival.
    "The idea is to make Decatur a place to come to see the arts," Mayor John Schultz said at Tuesday night's city council meeting. "It would put 5 to 10 sculptures downtown in conjunction with the Kekionga Festival and grow by 3 to 6 every year."
    An ad hoc committee has been formed and is headed by Bellmont graduate Greg Mendez, whose latest sculpture stands on the southeast corner of the Decatur library lot; an earlier work is located at the Adams Memorial Hospital fountain honoring new-retired hospital director Marvin Baird.
    Other members of the committee are Jean Porter Brune, Kelly Ehinger, Wes Kuntzman, and Coni Mayer.
    Sculptures by Mendez and other artists will be affixed to concrete bases (approximately 2 x 2 x 4) spaced throughout the city on Second St. The bases will be located on city sidewalks while the sculptures will be on the bases for a year until replaced by new ones.    
    Eventually, the program would be expanded to Monroe St. and up to and including 13th St., according to current plans.
    The committee already has commitments from a few downtown businesses to sponsor the cost of a base and contacts will be be made with others.
    The committee is planning to put out what's known as a "call to artists" in the near future, seeking area artists who would like to contribute a sculpture. The artist would have the option of eventually leasing or selling the sculpture, with 30 percent of the price going to the committee and the artist retaining the other 70 percent.
    A similar program has been enacted in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and has been a big hit. Mendez has three of his works there. (More information is available on the Sioux Falls website.)
    The committee asked council for its approval of the venture, which was heartily given.
    "I think that as a city, it's important that we promote the arts," Councilwoman Barb Engle said.