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Urbandale Public Art Program Turns Up the Volume

Visitors to Lions and Lakeview parks in Urbandale will soon have two new public art sculptures to gaze at as part of a growing citywide collection spurred by the Urbandale Public Art Committee.

The bronze sculptures from the Randolph Rose Collection, Inc., were purchased with funds allocated in the city's Capital Improvements Program for public art and will be installed this month.

The Urbandale City Council approved the $11,394 purchase at its Council meeting in November. The artwork will be officially unveiled June 16, 2011, during a special celebration.  

The additions are part of an expanded effort to "enhance the appearance of the City of Urbandale through the integration of art in the public environment," and to represent Urbandale with the themes of community, family, history, education, culture and vision.

"This is just a start for us," said Jan Herke, director of Parks and Recreation and Community Education, through which the Public Art Committee receives funding.

"We envision art that people can see, touch and experience. That's what art is about. I love that about the sculptures we have introduced to our community."

Grandfather on Sitting on Bench with Granddaughter Bronze Statue

The Committee, formed in 2008, also has their eyes set on the I-80/Douglas Avenue interchange. With earmarked funding for this area, Committee President Cate Newberg hopes to incorporate public art into what will become a central gateway into the city of Urbandale. "It's been a difficult process because there are many DOT regulations we have to abide by. Apparently you can't just plop down public art in the middle of an interstate," Newberg added jokingly. "But Douglas Avenue is a prime area for Urbandale's future revitalization efforts," Herke said. "It's a tremendous opportunity to welcome people to the city." The Public Art Committee will ask Iowa artists to submit ideas once the improvement project is underway, Newberg said. Though the artwork will require approval from the City Council, Newberg hopes to "push the envelope" on its design. "There's a host of great artists right in our own backyard," she said.

"We'll advocate for artwork that not only prompts conversation, but also works within the parameters set forth by the City."

For more information on what the Urbandale Public Art Committee is up to, visit www.urbandale.org.

By Sarah Oltrogge