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Community invited to help sculpture take flight

Courtesy Photo Sculptor Ann Gildner of Cheboygan created this “maquette” of Departure of the Great Blue Herons, which she will use to make a 15-foot high sculpture. The piece, commissioned by the Thunder Bay Arts Council, is expected to be completed and installed in September in the Alpena Wildlife Sanctuary across from Mid-Michigan Medical Center.

Thunder Bay Arts Council and Michigan Economic Development Corp. announce a new crowd-funding campaign through the Michigan-based platform, Patronicity. The campaign supports a TBAC project that celebrates the organization’s 45th anniversary year by erecting a sculpture of a Great Blue Heron along the Alpena Bi-Path.

The month-long campaign runs today through July 5 with a goal of $5,000. If the goal is met, the project will win a matching grant with funds made possible by MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places program.

For project details and to donate, visit www.Patronicity.com/DepartureSculpture.

“The durable heron is reflective of Thunder Bay Arts Council,” said MEDC Community Development Director Katharine Czarnecki. “Located in the Alpena Bi-Path and Wildlife Sanctuary, this is a great project for our Public Spaces Community Places program, activating a public area and honoring the Arts Council’s long running artistic support in Alpena.”

The sculpture will be located at Duck Park across from Mid-Michigan Medical Center – Alpena in an under-utilized location to be experienced for those walking, biking or driving along the Alpena Bi-Path and the Wildlife Sanctuary at the heart of the city.

While promoting art, the sculpture also will revitalize the trail and activate people to build a more vibrant community. Art inspires recreation and engagement, getting out into nature. In turn, creating, enhancing and revitalizing community within nature and recreational spaces can be the catalyst for inspiring art.

“Art is at the heart of creating places that appeal to residents and visitors alike,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and executive director of the Michigan Municipal League. “Alpena’s Great Blue Heron sculpture is sure to make the community a sought-after destination for art loves near and far.”

The team creating the sculpture, Iron One Studio (Ann Gildner, Mary Zinke and Thomas Moran), said, “Departure is the beauty of nature from the simplicity of line to the complexity of form. The grace of the Great Blue Herons show the majesty of flight, while their wind stream flows through the habitat bending the leaves and grasses.”

TBAC President Tim Kuehnlein said, “Departure of the Great Blue Herons represents yet another beginning in the revitalization of the arts and recreation in nature throughout Alpena and Northeast Michigan.”

Public Spaces Community Places is a collaborative effort of the MEDC, Michigan Municipal League and Patronicity where local residents can use crowd-funding to be part of the development of strategic projects in their communities and be backed with a matching grant from MEDC.

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