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Downtown Norfolk set to feature 10 new sculptures in 2019

May 18, 2019
Johnny Jeffrey welds a statue to a base at the former Prenger's location in Norfolk, Neb., Thursday, May 9, 2019. (Jake Wragge/The Daily News via AP)
Johnny Jeffrey welds a statue to a base at the former Prenger's location in Norfolk, Neb., Thursday, May 9, 2019. (Jake Wragge/The Daily News via AP)

NORFOLK, Neb. (AP) — Ten artistic additions to Norfolk have been installed as the inaugural Norfolk Sculpture Walk officially began last Saturday.

The 10 sculptures that will be featured this year include life-like bronze statues, steel creations up to 7 feet in height and intricate works of stone.

Eight of the sculptures will be located along Norfolk Avenue from Seventh to First streets, while one will be at the Norfolk Arts Center and the final one at Veterans Memorial Park off First Street.

Traci Jeffrey, director of the Norfolk Area Visitors Bureau, said each sculpture is unique and there’s something everyone will enjoy.

“A great thing about community art is that people have different opinions about what they’re seeing,” Jeffrey told the Norfolk Daily News.

The Norfolk Sculpture Walk was inspired by other sculpture walks around the region and was brought to the city by a committee of area residents, artists and the Norfolk Area Visitors Bureau in partnership with the City of Norfolk, the Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce, the Norfolk Arts Center and numerous sponsors.

The sculpture walk began with the installation of the final sculptures and then a reception at the Norfolk Arts Center featuring some of the artists.

Jeffrey said the sculpture walk may be enjoyed by people of all ages in any way they want. An audio tour guide is available on the Otocast app, which features commentary by each of the artists, but they also may be enjoyed without it.

“It’s perfect as a family event, or a night out or date night,” Jeffrey said. “We’ll see people walking around downtown, not only enjoying the sculptures but shopping and eating and enjoying downtown.”

The sculpture walk also will be the focus of a walking tour downtown this summer, with local restaurants participating and showing their food.

Those partaking in the sculpture walk are encouraged to vote for a favorite online at visitnorfolkne.com. The winner will be announced at the Riverpoint Arts Festival in September, and the winning artist will receive a monetary prize. Each sculpture is also for sale.

Norfolk Mayor Josh Moenning said public art like the sculpture walk is a modern amenity that people in Norfolk will benefit from.

“This is a small but important step in improving our quality of life,” he said. “Public art is a welcome addition to what is increasingly becoming a vibrant downtown. This was an effort among different community partners to bring something to our community.”

Jeffrey said the sculpture walk is an opportunity to show visitors the best of Norfolk. She said one artist in particular came to Norfolk for the first time because of this effort and was impressed by the city and its downtown.

“They are not only excited to see our first ever sculpture walk, but also the opportunity in our downtown,” Jeffrey said.

The sculptures will remain up through next April, after which the sculptures will either be stored or given to their buyers and next year’s sculptures will be installed.

Jeffrey said the goal is to keep growing the event each year.

“We’re starting off small and trying to do it correctly the first time,” Jeffrey said. “But we started in hopes of growing this every year.”

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Information from: Norfolk Daily News, http://www.norfolkdailynews.com

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