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Posted on: December 21, 2016

Public art 'taking flight' in Vienna

Public art is taking flight in Vienna. The Vienna Public Art Commission is moving forward on its inaugural project, a bronze sculpture by Texas artists Seth and Missy Vandable of two children reading and playing atop a stack of five books; the sculpture is entitled “Taking Flight.”

Vienna Town Council has approved a $3,900 down payment on the sculpture, and the art commission and other community groups have committed to raising the additional approximately $30,000 needed to purchase and install the 7-foot sculpture.

The sculpture is intended to honor Vienna community volunteers, in particular former Mayor M. Jane Seeman, who passed away in February 2014 after serving as Vienna mayor for 14 years.

“By recognizing Jane Seeman,” says Public Arts Commission member Tara Ruszkowski, “we’re recognizing the importance of all of those who live, work, and give to the community. We’re really excited to have this first piece underway because public art energizes a community by humanizing and invigorating its public spaces.”

“We feel that this statue not only represents Mayor Seeman’s values,” says Public Arts Commission Chair Midge Biles, “it also reflects the identity of our Town, its education, imagination, and community – along with a splash of playfulness.”

The cost of the sculpture ($39,000) and a stained concrete base total $47,000. So far about $17,000 has been pledged to the Town of Vienna in community donations. The Town is accepting contributions for public art online at www.viennava.gov/donations (under donation type, select “other Town of Vienna programs” and under donation’s purpose type “public art”). Donors also may write a check payable to the Town of Vienna, with “public art” noted in the memo section and mail the check to Town Hall, 127 Center Street S, Vienna, VA 22180.

In addition, a community group has organized a celebration concert as a public art fundraiser. The bands Fat Chance, Mudlark, and NRJ will perform February 9 at Jammin’ Java. Tickets are $100/person and will be available beginning January 7 at www.jamminjava.com.

Among those who already have financially supported public art in Vienna, providing about $17,000 to date, are Purple Onion Catering, Rotary Club of Vienna, Vienna Paint and Decorating, Vienna Presbyterian Church, and Whole Foods as well as several individuals.

The artwork will not be installed until all funds have been raised. While the public art commission has recommended that the statue be installed at the Town Green, Council has requested that the Board of Architectural Review work with the commission to consider this and other possible public locations.

Councilmember Linda Colbert, Mayor M. Jane Seeman’s daughter, says that her mother would be delighted to be honored by a piece of public art. “Anything that will make people in Vienna happy…. She loved seeing people out and about and gathering. She loved to see the community gathering, and a piece of art does that – it attracts people to it.”

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