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Central Library Public Art Recognized Among Best in U.S. & Canada

November 03, 2010

The 21st century-defining works of California sculptor Peter Shelton that adorn the south entrance of Central Library downtown have been named among the 40 best public art works in the United States and Canada by the arts advocacy group Americans for the Arts in its 2010 Public Art Year in Review.

Central Library

The recognition by the nation's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts reflects the most exemplary, innovative, permanent or temporary public art created or debuted in 2009.

Shelton's thinmanlittlebird consists of two separate sculptures that were privately funded by local arts advocates Ann and Chris Stack and the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library Foundation. One piece, thinman, is a towering bronze figure more than 30 feet tall that rises from Central Library's west pedestal. Appearing to hover above the Library's east pedestal is littlebird, a small bronze bird perched atop a large bronze torus, which is a geometric form generated when a circle is rotated around a vertical axis.

Shelton says his ensemble could be seen as suggesting, "Two world views and two different ways to adapt to life... East and West. thinman recalls our Hellenic past where the perfection of matter was a firm belief, the classical ideal." Conversely, "littlebird is almost an Eastern idea. Its floating geometric form has no anchoring surface as it endlessly turns in and out of itself."

Projects that earned accolades from the Americans for the Arts represent 29 cities in 15 states. They were chosen from more than 300 entries.

"In cities and towns across the country, public art makes an indelible impact and enhances our lives," said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. "We congratulate the artists and commissioning groups of the 10th annual Public Art Year in the Review and look forward to honoring more great works in the decades to come."