Sit on the Art for sale

Cthulhu by Howard Connelly Design. Photo by Gillian Morley

BY GILLIAN MORLEY

The auction starts in October. Takoma Park’s popular Sit on the Art sculptures will go on sale to the highest online bidders.

The seats, created from recycled materials including wood, metal, old street signs and old city banners, have been on display since June and will remain viewable to the public until the end of October.

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Fairy Ring by Studio Eco Bricolage. Photo by Gillian Morley.

The Old Takoma Business Association commissioned local artists to create public works of art which double as chairs and benches.

The fourth year interactive exhibit features15 sculptures as part of a mile long, self-guided walking tour of downtown Takoma Park and Takoma, DC  (Washington DC).

Five different artists and the Takoma Park city staff designed the pieces to be installed as a way to attract customers to the city’s small businesses.

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Why Takoma? by Annalisa Leonessa and Marcelle Fozard.  Photo by Gillian Morley.

Laura Barclay, assistant director of the Old Takoma Business Association, came up with the idea in 2011. She said the project has been very popular.

“Every year when we put the pieces out it creates a buzz within the community over what the artists have come up with,” Barclay said.

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Octopus by Howard Connelly Design. Photo by Gillian Morley.

“We look for ways to bring people downtown to support the businesses so we thought a public art project that is new and refreshed every summer would get people to return,” Barclay said.

The self-guided walking tour begins at Sitea Tea and Spice Boutique located at 6902 4th St. NW, Washington, D.C., and runs along Carroll Avenue ending at Morrison Park.

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Flutter-By by Howard Connelly Design. Photo by Gillian Morley.

Each piece will be auctioned off online beginning in October. Barclay says the association doesn’t make a profit off the auction, but it is a good way to get the public involved.

The sculptures usually sell for about $300-400 and the artists are each given grants of $500 to complete their works.

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Revolving Organics by Peter Krsko. Photo by Gillian Morley.

“Everybody is so excited each year to see what is coming out and what people created,” Barclay said. “There has been a buzz each time we do this in the community and now there is another buzz when we begin auctioning them off,”

Professional sculptor, Howard Connelly of Silver Spring, created nine sculptures for the project. Barclay said his 800 pound octopus sculpture and his butterfly seat have become very popular among residents.

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Banner Year by Team Takoma Park City Staff and Giant Log by Howard Connelly Design. Photo by Gillian Morley.

Connelly has been contributing sculptures to the project since it was first introduced four years ago.

He said he is receiving positive feedback from residents.

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Pony Tail Bench by Howard Connelly Design. Photo by Gillian Moreley

“The joy I get is to watch people interact with them,” Connelly said. “Sometimes I hang out at the restaurants and watch people sit on them and take pictures.”

His art is diverse in its concept and materials. He used a combination of wood and metal to create his sculptures.

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Giant Log by Howard Connelly Design. Photo by Gillian Morley.

“It is so my thing. I just love to recycle and treat existing things and create something new,” Connelly said.

The online auction will open in October. More information about the art, artists and auction as well as a map of the locations can be found at www.recyclearttakoma.com.

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Traffic Calming by Team Takoma Park City Staff. Photo by Gillian Morley.

About the Author

Gillian Morley
Gillian Morley is a 2014 summer Voice intern. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Maryland. The New York native graduated from the University of Delaware in 2013 with a degree in political science and minors in journalism and history.