IN to the Sky

Submitted by Sayaka Ganz

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Client: Indiana State University

Location: Terre Haute, IN, United States

Completion date: 2021

Artwork budget: $85,000

Project Team

Artist collaborator, engineer, custom hardware solutions

Jim Merz

Assistant, collaborator

Aleksandr Bogun

Project intern

August Pengelly

Photographer, installation assistant volunteer

Sheri Cotterman

Project assistant, metal surface finish

Nate Morris

Professional welding service

Gensic Creative Metals

Overview

IN to the Sky is a colorful and varied flock of 21 birds of Indiana made of reclaimed plastic objects, attached to the semi-spiral aluminum “swirls” that echo the movement of the people as they climb up the 4-story high Grand Staircase in the College of Health and Human Services building at the Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Goals

This was an art installation in an existing building structure, so our goal was to make the hanging hardware and joints as invisible as possible, and to match the existing hardware and structural elements where the hanging hardware became more visible.

Process

I envisioned the overall project and made a scale model that represents what I wanted to create. I then focused mostly on designing and fabricating the bird sculptures out of reclaimed plastic objects attached to laser cut aluminum armatures. I also oversaw the fabrication and surface treatment of the aluminum swirls. Jim Merz came with me to take measurements of the space, he identified the equipment we needed, engineered and fabricated the aluminum swirls to match what I had described in the model. He also handled the selection of hanging hardware that made them as clean and invisible as possible. Aleksandr Bogun collaborated with Jim Merz in the fabrication of aluminum swirls as well as in the installation of the completed work. August Pengelly was my student intern for the duration of this project, and she helped me in my bird sculptures as well as in finishing the surfaces of the aluminum swirls, and finally with the installation. Gensic Creative Metals welded the aluminum sections my team had rolled and cut to fit. Nate Morris assisted us in the final surface treatment of the aluminum swirls. Sheri Cotterman volunteered as a photographer for the installation process, but also assisted us with the surface sanding, hoisting of the swirls into position, and the clean-up.