Carol Fleming has a vision for Stephens Lake Park. She would like you to be a part of it.
“The beauty of Stephens Lake Park lies in how the land flows,” Fleming said. “The rolling hills rising above the lake soothes the soul.”
Fleming was picked out of a group of 24 Missouri artists who applied to create artwork for the park. The project is part of the Percent for Art Program which allows one percent of the cost of new city construction to be used for site specific art.
Fleming has two designs up for consideration and she envisions each bringing a different element to the park. Only one will be chosen.
The first design, Look Out Point, would be near the new amphitheater. It would consist of 12 column-type forms that would follow the shape of the land and move from a lower elevation to a hilltop.
“The art mimics the site and reinforces the feel of the park and calls us to celebrate being outdoors,” Fleming said.
The second design would be near the open area between the boat launch and the small playground. This site has a softer feel, Fleming said. She sees it as a beacon to wander off the path and as a meeting place to call people together. The work is like a sun dial calling people join together, she said.
This is the more subtle of the two sites, creating a quiet and private location.
“Fleming was chosen for her use of natural materials and her commitment to having the site be a natural outgrowth of the park,” said Marie Hunter of the Office of Cultural Affairs.
The committee also was impressed with Fleming’s vision of the site as a meeting and gathering place. The members felt her work would enhance the natural environment.
Fleming received her master’s degree in fine arts in 1987 from Ohio University. Her work has been widely collected and exhibited in Missouri as well as in Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. She has been working in clay for 15 years and likes her work to have the quality of nature.
Fleming said she creates her sculptures to enhance the elements already inherent within the park.
Fleming, an outdoor enthusiast, believes the role of public art is to draw people into enjoying the park or cultural events.
The project has a budget of $18,500. The city plans to have the art in the ground by May.
Design models are on display through the Jan. 28 in the lobby of City Hall. The artist and Committee on Public Art are asking the community to contribute to the decision-making process. A comment box is available, or e-mail may be sent to oca@gocolumbia mo.com.