A rare look at a historic metal sculpture coupled with 50 artists from throughout Iowa create an irresistible reason to check-out Ottumwa’s annual art festival, “Walk on Art Street,” on Saturday, Sept. 1. One of the 50 artists represents the home-grown talent of Centerville.

The historic metal sculpture of Chief Wapello was brought down from atop the Wapello County Courthouse by high winds on June 16. The statue is approximately 11 feet high constructed of hammered copper. It has stood on the courthouse since 1894 coming down only once during that time for maintenance in the 1950s. The Wapello County Board of Supervisors agreed to display the historic sculpture during “Walk on Art Street” so the public could learn more about the 118-year-old piece of art.

Among the 50 artists will be painter Carolyn Jenkins of Centerville during this fifth-annual art festival. A diverse body of work will be presented including fiber, photography, jewelry, hand-painted scarves and gourd carving. The event kicks off at 10 a.m. and concludes at 4 p.m. on Third Street adjacent to the city’s Central Park.

Families with youngsters overflowing with creativity can turn that energy loose at the event’s children activities including tissue-paper sculpture, sidewalk chalk, and belly dance lessons. The nearby stage will also feature entertainment such as creating ice sculptures, selections from the upcoming Willy Wonka, Jr. musical, and belly dancing.

Event goers will find food and beverages provided by a number of vendors.

The Ottumwa Area Arts Council will host a reception to highlight their public art initiative sponsored by the council, John Deere Ottumwa Works, and South Ottumwa Savings Bank. The event will follow Walk on Art Street.

The free reception will officially unveil the 2012-13 Ottumwa Sculpture Trail on the Bridge View Center patio on Saturday, Sept. 1 from 5-6 p.m. Artists will be available to discuss their work and the Best of Show award will be announced at 5:45 p.m.

The sculpture trail is a temporary public art program featuring outdoor sculptures that are displayed on the Bridge View Center lawn near the Market St. bridge from September through July each year.

Four sculptures were selected for this year’s display at Bridge View Center. Artists receive a stipend to display their artwork and each sculpture is for sale. Pieces sold must remain on display through July. Any commissions will be used to support the ongoing effort to bring public art to Ottumwa. Featured artwork includes “Hope” by Hilde DeBruyne, Cumming; “Marker” by Skip Willits, Camanche; “Pathway to Freedom” by Steve Huffman, Ottumwa; and “Red Eye” by Sharon Boynton, Omaha.

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