University donates sculpture to Arts District

Megan Thorne

A 3,200 pound sculture by Scott Ross was unveiled Saturday at Haynie's CornerPhoto by Megan Thorne/The Shield
A 3,200 pound sculpture by Scott Ross was unveiled Saturday at Haynie’s Corner. Photo by Megan Thorne/The Shield

A 3,200- pound steel “Gateway” that some say could help unite the Evansville arts community was unveiled Saturday during the 4th annual Sculpt EVV Community Art and Music Festival at Haynie’s Corner.

“Art is something that can bridge different communities with different backgrounds and the title of this permanent piece is ‘Gateway,’ which unites different spaces,” said associate professor of art history Hilary Braysmith.

She said the permanent sculpture was donated by the university to benefit Haynie’s Corner – Evansville’s expanding arts district – by providing a way for the area to brand an image.

New York has The Statue of Liberty, Braysmith said, France has the Eiffel Tower and now Evansville’s Arts District has “Gateway.”

The sculptor, Scott Ross, an assistant professor of sculpture at Kentucky State University, said that bringing people together was also his goal for the community.

He said that “Gateway” is a transitional space, like a gate or a doorway, where guests can walk around and through the sculpture instead of it just “sitting there.”

Ross got the inspiration to build 14-foot-high, 20-foot-wide structure from his past experience building big custom houses, where he learned that he enjoyed building vast spaces.

“I found – when looking back – I was building very functional sculptures. So a lot of my work is architectural based,” Ross said.

The choice to use steel and rust color contributed to his decision.

“The thing about the rusted steel surface is that most works of art don’t have life to (them). Like if you paint, the paint would fade a little bit but the surface doesn’t really change over time,” Ross said.

He said steel is a permanent material but the structures rusted surface will form patina, a thin layer of tarnish.

“It will always have streaks in it, and I can see parts where people have touched it. It’s a changing surface. So because of that, it’s got a life to it,” Ross said. “We are all evolving and changing at the same time.”

“Gateway” stands near the Washington Avenue entry to the Parrett Street walkway.

Ross said he has enjoyed his time with the sculpture and now its time for the community to get their share.