Oscar Winski News

Public Art Unveiled in Chauncey Village

By Tim Brouk

Lafayette, Indiana- The newest piece of public art in Greater Lafayette represents "the ultimate form of recycling."

"Point of Departure," a metal abstract work by local sculptor Ben Sutter, was unveiled Friday morning in front of a crowd of local government officials, art supporters and morning coffee enthusiasts at South Street and Northwestern Avenue in Chauncey Village.

The large work with a rusted finish is firmly ensconced in a sort of butterfly-shaped planter that once held pear trees. Accompanying "Point of Departure" are two young ivory silk tree lilacs in front of Greyhouse Coffee.

James Bronchik, vice president of administration for Oscar Winski Company, was one of the many members of "the village" that helped make "Point of Departure" possible. He said he was thrilled to provide old scraps of metal into a work of art.

"It was scrap metal melted down and made into new metal," explained Bronchik right before the art was unveiled.

Jason Tennenhouse, owner of Greyhouse, said public art and Sutter's work fits the Greyhouse mission.

"I hope this piece will be an anchor for relationships, an epicenter for the community," he added.

"Point of Departure" is the first piece presented by the West Lafayette Public Art Advisory Group. Mayor John Dennis stated that public is a significant part of West Lafayette's "updated" strategic plan.

"When we talk about public art, we're talking about quality of life," Dennis said.

Sutter explained the shape of "Point of Departure" represents the twists and turns a person takes during life's journey. The path of the steel is smooth at first before taking a few abrupt turns and angles.

Tetia Lee, executive director of Tippecanoe Arts Federation, has overseen numerous public art projects in the last few years in Lafayette and West Lafayette. She was happy to see public art insert itself into the Chauncey Village and she was impressed with all of the collaboration that occurred to make it happen.

"It's a really strong piece," said Lee, adding that the best viewpoint is from the South Street side. "It's different enough that I think people will check it out and look. ... I'm interested to see how the space will evolve as the trees grow."

Graduating from Purdue University this weekend, Ricky Grogan and Nick Schauff were a part of the Construction Engineering and Management team that helped design a metal plate below the surface that will help the trees' roots flow into the ground.

Both Grogan and Schauff live nearby and walk through Chauncey often. They believe the piece to be a welcome addition to the local landscape.

"You can see it while walking down State Street. It's going to be a real focal point for the area," Grogan said.