A! Magazine for the Arts

Doug Gruizenga's "Hobie's Dilemma" depicts the effect his divorce had on his daughter. The welded aluminum sculpture is featured in a DVD of Kingsport's Sculpture Walk II.

Doug Gruizenga's "Hobie's Dilemma" depicts the effect his divorce had on his daughter. The welded aluminum sculpture is featured in a DVD of Kingsport's Sculpture Walk II.

The Arts — Changing Lives: Public Art

October 27, 2009

Designer: "I'd Rather Starve"

Linda Stewart of Bristol is a fashion designer who was featured in A! Magazine (March 2009). She says, "Although I am a designer, I'm an artist first. The difference is my medium is fabric. I always thought -- or rather had it drummed into me by well-meaning adults -- that if you were an artist you were doomed to starve. But now I know the phrase 'starving artist' really means that I would rather starve than not be an artist. It is a part of my soul. We can't live without art."

Stewart continues, "The mark of a city is its commitment to bringing in art of all types. I always look forward to seeing the outdoor sculptures as I drive or walk through downtown Bristol, and I am always curious to see what the newest ones will be. My grandson took a picture [of one sculpture and won the youth category in the 2008] Rhythm and Roots Reunion photo contest.... So even the youth of this town love these wonderful additions to Bristol! Keep up the good work!"

Sculpture Resonates with Kids...

Linda Stewart's grandson, was featured in A! Magazine in December 2008 (Max Hale Has An 'Eye' for Photography). Max says, "I love the sculptures and I like to see what the juror picks each year. I think the sculptures are colorful, adventurous and just plain awesome!"

Bonnie Macdonald, Cultural Arts Administrator for the City of Kingsport, Tenn., shared a letter she received about a DVD on Kingsport's Sculpture Walk II. The letter refers to "Hobie's Dilemma," a welded aluminum sculpture by Doug Gruizenga. In the video Gruizenga explains that his piece was about his daughter Hobie and the effect his divorce had on her.

In the letter, Zan Gregory, the art teacher at Brookside and Cedar Grove elementary schools, wrote: "The DVD is wonderful. I have wanted my students not only to see the sculptures, but to know about them. Many were aware of the exhibit, but none had actually walked the tour. The kids were very interested to hear art terms that we've been studying, like 'balance' and 'negative space,' and to learn what the sculptures mean to the artists who created them. Many of them identified with 'Hobie's Dilemma.' After watching the DVD, when we did our normal art lesson, quite a few incorporated the effect their own parents' divorces have had on them into their artwork, and came up to explain it to me."

Macdonald adds, "I know this class is not the only group of people who have understood and been moved by the sculptures. It was touching to know that Gruizenga's story resonated with our school kids."

...and with Adults

Bristol businesswoman Nancy B. DeFriece says, "Bristol's Art in Public Places provides exposure to one facet of the arts -- sculpture -- at no cost for all who live in or visit our Twin City. This exposure gives opportunity to one's soul to react in various ways. To someone with undiscovered art ability, it might introduce a new and exciting life."

According to Jud Barry, Director of the Bristol Public Library, "Public art gives personality to a place so that it becomes like a friend you want to go visit every now and then. The works of art inside and outside the library unquestionably heighten its appeal."

Mike Sparks
, Deputy City Manager for Bristol, Tennessee, says the city is "glad to participate in the Art in Public Places project. Our downtown is an important part of the image that people remember when they visit our community."

W.A. Dennison, Jr., City Manager for Bristol, Virginia, adds, "The Art in Public Places program complements the aesthetics of our downtown district and conveys the community's commitment to enhancing the quality of life for our citizens."

-- The Arts - Changing Lives: Photography, Music, Sculpture