Aug. 5, 2010
Associate professor's sculpture placed in front of Columbia fire station
MARYVILLE, Mo. - A sculpture designed and fabricated at Northwest now stands as a symbol for the community of Columbia, Mo.
Glenn Williams, an associate professor of art at Northwest, built a sculpture that was placed this week outside the new Fire Station No. 9 in Columbia, Mo. Williams was commissioned by Columbia's Standing Committee on Public Art to design a piece of art for the city. Columbia allocates 1 percent of its cost for all above-ground capital improvement projects to fund public art.
"What inspired me to do this project was the challenge of creating a work that reflected the community in which it would be placed," Williams said.
Williams began fabricating the sculpture in February and finished the project in April. The 12-foot-high stainless-steel structure is made of 14-gauge, 1/4-inch steel and weighs more than 700 pounds.
Despite the sculpture's flame-like form and it's positioning at the firehouse, Williams said the sculpture represents something much different. The sculpture depicts a seedling sprouting to life. On the seed, Williams embedded casts of words and phrases that signify prosperity and fostering community growth.
"The idea of taking something from your imagination or the way you view the world and bringing that to fruition to share with others is a very vulnerable and, at the same time, powerful experience," Williams said. "It is that duality of experiences that inspired me to become an artist."
Williams has been teaching at Northwest since 2003. He is director of the sculpture and three-dimensional design programs, and his teaching responsibilities include jewelry and metals, and sculpture. He also supervises the woodworking and metal fabrication facilities.
"Our students have been recognized for their artistic achievements on a regional and national level through their acceptance into juried exhibitions, residency programs and graduate programs," Williams said. "I think the quality of our program is a reflection of the commitment of the art faculty to the students that they teach.
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