Three sculptures selected from 18 entries are now on view in the City of Radford’s first juried outdoor sculpture competition. The exhibition, titled “An Epic Journey,” runs now through Sept. 15, 2017, in the Mary Draper Ingles Cultural Heritage Park and features works by award-winning artists Charlie Brouwer, Bob Doster and Hanna Jubran.

The exhibit is partially supported by funding from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the response we received for this first competition from artists in Virginia as well as four other states,” says Deborah Cooney, director of tourism. “This effort represents the beginning of a vision our Tourism Commission has for integrating art with the historic and outdoor assets here in our locality,” she added. “While the exhibit is temporary, our goal is to establish a public art program throughout the business and recreation districts.”

Titled “He Always Carried It With Him Wherever He Went,” Brouwer’s work is an eight-foot-tall man holding a leaf and is constructed of locust wood. According to the Floyd County artist, the “guy realizes how much his existence depends on nature, and the leaf symbolizes his desire to remember in all of his doings, and comings and goings to respect, pay attention, guard and protect his home—the natural world.”

Brouwer was a professor at Radford University for 21 years and has participated in 250 national and international exhibitions. In 2016, he received a professional fellowship from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond.

Doster is the owner of a metal sculpting studio, gallery and sculpture garden in Lancaster, S.C. The Resident Artist in Education for the South Carolina Arts Commission has exhibited in settings worldwide. The sculptor says his winning entry, “November Wind,” represents the “changing seasons and the hardships that are endured with the cold winds of fall and winter.” Doster has taught art for more than 30 years and has been honored for his role in the preservation of cultural assets.

Jubran’s 700-pound work, “Moon and Sky,” depicts the moonscape in space. He says the choice of stainless steel showcases how the moon appears at dusk. “I found creating the landscape in a three-dimensional format a challenge and a way to express my feelings about nature,” he added. The professor of art at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., has exhibited works in the U.S. and abroad and is represented in numerous private and corporate collections.

The Park, where the sculptures are located, is named for colonial heroine Mary Draper Ingles, who was abducted in 1775 by a party of Shawnees and taken hundreds of miles into the frontier. Her escape and return home by navigating rivers and living off the land has been the subject of numerous books, an outdoor drama and a couple of movies and was the inspiration for the city’s first outdoor sculpture competition. Park hours are dawn to dusk.

Judges for the competition were Carl Lefko, director of the School of Dance and Theatre at Radford University, and Dr. Steve Arbury, director of the Radford University Art Museum. Both agreed that the entries provided a “rich and varied grouping representing the river/wilderness theme.” All three sculptures are for sale.

-Submitted by Deb Cooney

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