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O’Fallon exhibits unique sculptures for free viewing

How often do you have the opportunity to view world-class artwork without leaving O’Fallon or St. Charles County? How often can you view it at no cost? 

As part of a citywide “Shape of the Community Sculpture Series,” O’Fallon is providing that opportunity by installing large-scale works of art loaned from renowned national artists to the city for an 18-month period. 

O’Fallon’s 2020/2021 rotating sculpture series has one work of art on display in each of 10 public locations, including City Hall, the Renaud Center, CarShield Field, Ozzie Smith Sports Complex, Civic Park, Dames Park, Westhoff Park, Fort Zumwalt Park, Sports Park and O’Day Park. The exhibition period began in June.

Map of “Shape of the Community Sculpture Series” locations (Source: City of O’Fallon)

This type of exhibition is unique to the St. Louis metro area, and is intended to attract people to visit O’Fallon and the various sculpture sites.  The city’s Cultural Arts Commission received dozens of entries from all parts of the U.S., then winnowed the entries down to the 10 finalists whose works are now displayed.

Asked how all of this was started, O’Fallon communications director Tom Drabelle said “The Shape of Community Sculpture series started in 2018 at the request of the City Council and the Cultural Arts Commission, led by then-councilmember Rose Mack [Ward 2] and Mayor (Bill) Hennessy.  The program is directed by the city’s Cultural Arts Coordinator.”

“During the first series in 2018,” Drabelle continued, “they placed seven sculptures throughout the city, which stayed in place for about 18 months. This year is the second round of sculptures. At the time we started, we were not aware of any other specific sculpture series like this in the metro area, although certainly other cities had various art exhibits in their communities. To my knowledge, we’re still the only city with a sculpture series like this.”

Mid Rivers Newsmagazine reporter John Tremmel visited each of the display sites and took photos (click the image below to start the slideshow). Each photo contains a very brief description. Detailed, personal descriptions provided by the artists for each sculpture can be found at ofallon.mo.us/shape-of-community.

“We selected regional, national and international artists to exhibit,” explained O’Fallon Cultural Arts Coordinator Marty Linson. “All of the artists are exhibiting nationally and eight of the 10 are exhibiting internationally. We have been lucky to draw a very high quality of artists for this exhibition.”

Regarding the program’s greatest benefit to the city and its residents, Linson said, “The artists come from all cultural backgrounds and areas of our country. They bring cultural experiences and perspectives to our citizens that they may not have considered.”

Linson said the city is hoping to install the next sculpture series in May or June of 2022.

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