A public art project that entails a metal sculpture of a flower blossom to be placed in downtown Rome has been in the works for nearly a year.
Titled “Dancing Flower,” the 8-foot-tall sculpture will sit at the corner of Broad Street and Fifth Avenue across the street from Wells Fargo Bank.
Local groups are working to try and get the total cost of the piece funded while they have also collaborated with city leaders to find the proper place for it.
“The process has been moving pretty rapidly but it takes time to get everything together,” said Robert Blumberg, chairman of the Rome Business Improvement District. “And, of course, we’ve been working on getting the funding together.”
The total cost of the project is $13,000 to pay for the work of architect Randy Noble and to make the sculpture.
So far, $9,000 has been raised for the project, most of it from the efforts of the family of Mickie Dobbs, who headed Rome’s Clean Communities Commission for 25 years and died in 2010.
Downtown Development Authority Director Ann Arnold said the family wanted to make a gift to the city of Rome following Dobbs’ passing.
“Our part was as a partner in finding a good, visible and safe location for the piece and contribute to it financially,” Arnold said.
The DDA was asked to look at several places, according to Arnold, and recommended the Fifth and Broad spot to Rome Public Services Director Kirk Milam to make sure the logistics of putting it there would work.
Public art is something the BID and DDA have looked at bringing more of to Broad Street and have done surveys of cities like Athens and Columbia, S.C., to get an idea of what would be right for Rome.
Blumberg said that they saw ideas that ranged from simple sculptures to more abstract pieces.
“What we’re looking at (for this sculpture) is abstract but in a minimalist sense,” Blumberg said. “The design is unique, simple and can withstand the test of time and the days of children playing on it.”
Arnold referenced the existing public art pieces that dot downtown such as the fountain at Mitchell Plaza, the Capitoline Wolf in front of City Hall and the various monuments and plaques along Broad Street.
“I don’t think many people think of them collectively as public art pieces that currently exist,” Arnold said. “We’re excited about this new sculpture and know that public art is important for any downtown area.”
Blumberg said that each piece of the flower sculpture is distinct and will be a different dimension, so they must be cast separately.
After the project is completely funded it will take between 30 and 60 days to make the sculpture, including casting, coating and placing it in concrete along Broad Street.
Donations to the sculpture fund can be made to the Rome Area Council for the Arts care of Fifth Avenue Art Project and are tax deductible.
Blumberg said they would like to raise all of the money for the sculpture by the end of January in hopes of getting it in place in March in time for summer.