In October of 2015, I started a new job that moved me from downtown Columbus to the suburb of Dublin. Dublin is a very nice little area where most of the center of town is made to look like an Irish village. My favorite part of the town is the public art. Driving around Dublin, you’re sure to find some very odd and interesting things to look at. Here’s a look at just a few of my favorites.
1. Field of Corn (with Osage Oranges)
“That corn thing” that everyone seems to know about, but doesn’t know quite where it is, or why it’s there. 109 concrete ears of corn on a street corner in Dublin affectionately called Cornhenge. This area used to be the farmland of Sam Frantz, an inventor of hybrid corn species. It’s both a tribute to Frantz, and a bit of a memorial to the loss of the farming lifestyle.
Notes for visiting: This installation is actually placed along the driveway of a business. Most of the time, people just pull to the side of the road, and it doesn’t seem to cause many problems. There are a couple of benches near the trees (useful for sitting and listening to the cell phone audio tour description).
2. Dancing Hares
The first time I saw this one, it was a gloomy day. As I spotted these dancing rabbits, the only thing I could think of was that they were celebrating the Apocalypse. When I finally got good enough weather to get closer, I discovered something possibly more disturbing.
First of all, the hares are about 15 feet tall, and they stand on top of a mound (not unlike an Indian burial mound) about 20-25 feet tall. The mound has a spiraling walkway up to the top.
Next…they are sculpted with various pieces of hardware, electronics, and other items built into them…
Nightmare fuel. Or a fun scavenger hunt with the kiddies!
Notes: Dancing Hares is on top of a hill in Ballantrae Park. It’s not a steep hill, so I think even motorized scooters could make it up. There is a water splash pad at the base of the mound, so there may be lots of kids during the summer. There are lots of good walking paths in the area, if that’s your thing. Plenty of good parking areas as well.
3. Going, Going, Gone
This one’s got kind of a unfortunate story to it. This bronze sculpture was installed in 2001, but the dedication ceremony never happened because it was scheduled for September 11. In this sculpture, a baseball bat is hitting a clock, and the flight of the clock into the woods symbolizes the passage of time.
Throughout the woods, there are bits of the clock, and other things scattered around that are meant to be the bits and pieces of our memories.
I really like this installation, and kind of feel like it’s a true hidden gem in Dublin.
Notes: This is located in Darree Fields, which is a series of sports fields. As such (especially during the school year) you can really have a nice peaceful walk. Obviously, in the summer, and on weekends, it might be more crowded. The path through the woods is well kept, and almost totally flat. The whole path is just under 3/4 mile long, so a couple laps around, and you have a good walk on your hands. I will say that Going, Going, Gone is kind of hidden behind some trees, so it can be hard to find.
As I write this, the city of Dublin is gearing up for The Memorial Golf Tournament. Also gearing up? The stories about how the golf course was built on an ancient Indian burial site, and the ghost of Leatherlips haunts the tournament to this day. Cursing the tournament with poor weather (a note: as of this writing, there are two days scheduled with possible bad weather). This stone sculpture was actually the very first sculpture in the Dublin Art project. This is built in Scioto Park, roughly in the area where Leatherlips was murdered.
This sculpture is simple limestone and mortar. The top of the sculpture is hollowed out, so you can go stand and get a view of the Scioto River, or the amphitheater that sits just down the hill to the right.
Notes: Scioto Park isn’t a very big park. It’s good for a picnic, or to stop and stretch a bit, but not a lot else to do here unless you catch a show at the amphitheater.
5. Coffman Park – Watch House & Exuvia
Coffman Park is a large park, just off Interstate 270 and West Bridge Street in Dublin. In fact, you can actually see Watch House from one of the ramps to 270 if you know where to look. Coffman Park has tons of interesting art, including the very walls of the rec center . I’m just focusing on a couple of my favorites.
Note: As of this writing, Watch House is under construction, and cannot be entered. You can still experience the rest of the piece.
Watch House is a tiny little house that helps tell a thousands year old story. The House is built in a circular mound, meant to represent the mounds built by the Native American tribes that used to live in this area. The roof of the house is meant to work like a planetarium the highlights aspects of our daily lives now. In the center of the mound is a field of wild grasses and plants meant to represent the native plants of the area.
I don’t know when the construction will be finished, but I will go back and update with more pictures.
Exuvia is a weird, weird piece of art.
This isn’t a person climbing a tree. It is a fiberglass cast of a human (actually, the artist – Todd C. Smith), climbing in a tree. His inspiration? How cicadas molt, and leave their exoskeletons in the trees. Also, he really liked climbing trees as a hobby.
There are four of these sculptures in the park. I’ve found two of them, and I found a tree that was supposed to hold a third. I could not see the sculpture in that tree at all, unfortunately.
This is just a sampling of some of the great art scattered all around Dublin. I encourage everyone to go read the Dublin Art Council’s website (of which I used extensively in researching this post) and discover even more public art.
If you’d like to see more pictures of these art installations and more, check my flickr album here…
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