Renaissance Race

Submitted by Tj Aitken

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Client: City of Plainwell

Location: Plainwell, MI, United States

Completion date: 2012

Artwork budget: $34,000

Project Team

Artist

Tj Aitken

Novus Resource Inc.

Industry Resource

Eric Wilson

City of Plainwell

Overview

23' GFR Concrete and cast Iron Mill components. Commemorative sculpture about the paper mill that founded the town, now re-purposed as Civic Center City Hall. Meant to both honor and inspire toward a new future. The piece sits at the mouth of the “Race” a canal cut 150 years ago to power the mill's water wheel, and includes hardware from the old mill.

Goals

The history of the town revolved around the old mill, the future is now very different and inspiration toward an artistic place to live was important to the project. Components were chosen from from the mill to create the sculpture plenum and prompt familiarity for those who worked at this site. The public voted on 4 finalists and chose this design.

Process

The work was designed by the artist and proposed on several different scales. The size was dependent on how much the city and community would contribute to the mill salvage operation, site preparation, transportation and installation of the work. In the end they chose the largest version, and did all they could, managing transport of the piece, crane rental, component salvage and cleaning, foundation construction, lighting and plantings all at the artists direction. The artist focused all his efforts in producing a larger piece.

Additional Information

Everyone was very pleased with the results. The work can be seen from some distance in all directions especially at night and now acts as a key landmark for the new City Center.