In 2003 a group of interested arts, business and community leaders and interested citizens came together to make a difference in the economic vitality and future of Terre Haute and the surrounding region. Whereas some communities have natural amenities: oceans, mountains, pleasant year-round climate, which serve as a natural effortless draw for residents, businesses and visitors, a creative solution was needed to attract people to stay and move to the Wabash Valley. Named for the historic river around which this area developed, the area has beautiful trees and green spaces, an attractive cost of living, award-winning educational institutions of higher learning, and a culturally rich and diverse history. Nevertheless, the area had suffered severe economic setbacks during the last century. How could Terre Haute differentiate itself from literally hundreds of other communities that accurately advertise themselves as “a friendly place to live, with lots of nice people?” What was proposed was a cultural attraction that would be accessible to residents and visitors alike, one that would dovetail with the ongoing economic development efforts and would truly enhance the quality of life throughout the region for decades to come. This initiative became Art Spaces – Wabash Valley Outdoor Sculpture Collection, Inc., or as everyone now calls it, simply Art Spaces.
How do you know that a sculpture collection will improve the economy?
In many communities where people have taken bold steps in arts initiatives, the outcome has been new jobs created, new businesses starting up or relocating in the community, increased tax revenues for the city and the state, and measurable improvements in the quality of life. Numerous recent national studies have demonstrated that the arts attract dollars to a community. An outdoor sculpture collection is a highly visible amenity which speaks volumes about a community’s support and appreciation for the arts. Commissioning unique sculptures for specific sites allows artists to learn about the area and create pieces that truly add meaning to places and provide unrestricted access to the arts for everyone that lives or visits here.
How are the locations for sculptures selected?
Sculptures are located in a wide variety of public settings in the downtown area as well as in parks and university campuses. All of the sculptures are in sites where residents and tourists are welcome. There is currently no shortage of organizations interested in providing sites for public sculpture on their property.
Are all of the sculptures permanent?
To date all of our sculptures have been permanent installations. In the future, as opportunities and funding allow, temporary sculpture exhibits may become a part of our program.
Are you commissioning new sculptures or buying already existing ones?
In most cases we commission new pieces, but on occasion if an already existing sculpture is ideal for a given site, then we may acquire it.
Are the sculptures site specific?
Almost all of the sculptures in the Art Spaces collection have been created by artists for a particular location. This way of working serves the art and the site well and adds meaning to locations throughout our community. On occasion a sculpture may be selected that has already been made, but it will be selected with a certain site in mind.
Where does the money to pay for the sculptures come from?
Art Spaces, Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit corporation and is engaged in ongoing fundraising efforts to fabricate, install and care for the sculptures in our collection. Contributions come from individuals, corporations, foundations, city, state and federal funds, and through many generous in-kind donations.
What is the average budget for a sculpture?
To date, budgets for the sculptures have ranged from $30,000-$100,000. There are many factors involved that help to determine the size of a project, including location, funding source possibilities, and the scope of our clients’ plans for their sites. Art Spaces works to keep operating costs at a minimum in order to devote the majority of fundraising efforts to the site-specific sculpture projects.
Do you always buy the sculptures or do artists sometimes donate them?
We have received offers of donations from artists who are eager to have their works in the collection or are looking for a place to locate a particular sculpture that they own and would like to have seen and appreciated. On occasion we play a consulting role in helping an artist connect a work with a site. These pieces rarely become part of the Art Spaces collection. Art Spaces does not own sculptures; rather they are owned by the entity that owns the property on which they are located. Our Acquisitions Committee reviews these offers and if interested, will work with the artist to find a site for it and, if appropriate, have it become part of the Art Spaces collection.
Who owns the sculptures?
The sculptures are owned by the siteholder. For example, sculptures placed in a city park belong to the Terre Haute Department of Parks & Recreation. The sculpture at our public library is owned by the library. We also work with universities and other organizations on sculpture projects. However, all of the sculptures must be located in publicly accessible sites where they may be seen free of charge.
Who takes care of the sculptures?
Art Spaces maintains a Preservation Fund for their long term care. Regular maintenance is under the care of the owner of the sculpture in consultation with Art Spaces, based on maintenance guidelines provided by the artists.
How are the artists and artworks chosen?
The Art Spaces Site Selection and Acquisitions Committee includes many of Terre Haute’s top arts professionals along with several experienced members of the Board of Directors. One or more representatives from the entity that will own the sculpture also participates. This Committee, along with the Art Spaces Director, runs the selection process through Requests for Qualifications (RFQ). Finalists (3-5) receive a stipend to travel to Terre Haute and view the site prior to creating a full proposal and model. The Committee then reviews the proposals and makes recommendations to the Board of Directors, who, along with the established entity, will approve the final selection.
How can I become involved in this project?
If you are an interested sculptor, funder or if you would like to become involved as a volunteer or intern, please contact us at 812-235-2801 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We are located in downtown Terre Haute, Indiana, at 669 Ohio Street.