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Effingham Unveils New Sculpture


EFFINGHAM — The self-guided Sculpture on the Avenues has been expanded by one in Effingham, with the unveiling of another piece of bronze art work on Monday morning.

It's called, “Best Friends.”

Mayor Jeff Bloemker spoke to the small crowd who came out to see the latest addition to the collection of permanent artwork. It joins 29 others, some which are on loan to the city, some are privately owned and others are permanent fixtures. 

“The arts are something small, gritty Midwestern towns are typically not known for,” he said. “But, once in awhile, some Midwestern towns surprise even the metropolitan pundits.”  

This small bronze sculpture features a little boy and a little girl, seated on a bench, reading together. It joins two others on the City Hall property — “Flame of Hope” and “Balancing Boy & Joy.”

Bloemker explained the Sculpture on the Avenues was developed nearly 20 years ago by former Mayor Bob Utz and the Effingham Committee for the Arts. It is a self-guided tour of many sculptures and artwork throughout downtown, starting at City Hall. 

“Pablo Picasso said the purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls,” Bloemker said while kicking off the unveiling.

Located on the west side of City Hall, “Best Friends” is a part of the Randolph Rose Collection, said Jodi Thoele, director of tourism in Effingham.

The city paid $4,550 plus $455 for shipping, which was paid out of the tourism fund, said Todd Hull, economic development director.

The artist, based in Yonkers, New York, wrote on his Website that the boy and girl sitting and reading on a bench is a favorite among parents, grandparents, teachers and more.

“Since 1972, the Randolph Rose Collection has grown from a small family business to one of the largest design resources, with a passion for creating and designing the highest quality bronze sculptures," Thoele wrote in a press release.

The mayor said this newest piece of the Randolph Rose Collection “is a very good and appropriate complement to City Hall's other bronze sculpture, 'Balancing Boy and Joy,' which is positioned on the northwest corner of the lawn.”

Thoele said aside from those pieces owned by the city, many pieces on the tour are available for sale. In the past few years, several of the stained-glass sculptures have been sold. The tourism office puts potential buyers in contact with the artists, if they express interest.

Dawn Schabbing can be reached at or 217-347-7151, ext. 138.