Columbus wants to complete its Scioto Mile Park with a monumental sculpture. The plan is to add a large piece of artwork along the riverfront that will become as identifiable with Columbus as the Gateway Arch is with St. Louis and the Space Needle is with Seattle.
The proposed piece would be abstract, six stories tall, made of reflective metal, and shaped like . . . the cooling tower of a nuclear plant. Not surprisingly, some people are questioning that design.
I like the idea of putting a large piece of public art along the Scioto Mile. I think it should be a bold statement, not some timid, compromise product of a committee. We don’t need another realistic sculpture like the big statue of Christopher Columbus in front of City Hall. I’m not sure how I feel about the “cooling tower” design — it seems like the shape is so defined with nuclear plants that viewers won’t really see or think of anything else — but I’m willing to reserve judgment if that is the piece that is selected.
Anyone who has been to Millennium Park in Chicago knows that people are attracted to large, memorable public art pieces like “the Bean.” If the “cooling tower” is interesting, fun to look at, well made, and allows for interesting photo opportunities, people will go see it — and that, after all, is the idea.