C.J. Rench, who “planted” Urban Flowers on Terre Haute’s Arts Corridor, is a self-taught industrial engineer. He entered the engineering field to solve problems he was having with sports equipment that he was using in competitions. His successful designs have led to the awarding of multiple patents for his products.

In 2005, Rench turned his talents and problem-solving skills to sculpture when he began designing and fabricating small and large scale works, primarily out of steel. His sculptures range from very small, tabletop pieces to large-scale, site-specific works such as Urban Flowers.

Rench wrote: I want my sculptures to be something that people react to immediately, without reading about them, or trying to decipher them. If they connect with the works emotionally, that is the meaning that I want them to carry away with them. I have found people in Terre Haute to be very inviting, friendly and excited about positive change, so I’m not surprised that they have found an immediate kinship with a cheerful new work.

The artist may have drawn this conclusion because, as he installed the sculpture on a busy city street, he received enthusiastic accolades from hundreds of passing motorists and pedestrians. In part, they were delighted by the colors of the flowers about which Rench said, “I use bold colors in my works because, after all, life is colorful, joyful and exhilarating. Why shouldn’t art be?”

Urban Flowers adds warmth, vitality, and instant cheer to an entire city block, enlivening the downtown through all seasons. In addition, flowers “growing” in concrete is a fitting metaphor for public art, a practice which transforms unattractive or neglected sites into something to ponder, talk about, be challenged by or, in this case, simply be cheered by in the course of one’s day.

Additional Information:

Steel, 2015
12′ 4″ high, 9′ 2″ wide,
4′ 10″ deep

Located on the east side of the Terre Haute Arts Corridor just south of the corner of Ohio and 7th Streets.

C.J. Rench lives and works in Hood River, Oregon.

Art Spaces gratefully acknowledges:

  • City of Terre Haute
  • Duke Energy Foundation
  • Indiana State University
  • ST Construction, Inc.
  • Wabash Valley Community Foundation