Cork Marcheschi Creates Art Tatum Celebration Column in Toledo, Ohio, to Honor that Genius of Jazz Piano
After winning a competition, public sculptor Cork Marcheschi creates the Art Tatum Celebration Column in Toledo, Ohio, in honor of that city's jazz genius Art Tatum, a beautifully-illuminated 30 foot sculpture of a piano keyboard with a twist.
PR9.NET February 22, 2010 - Toledo, Ohio – The Art Tatum Celebration Column in Toledo, Ohio, the most expensive piece of public art ever installed in that city, was dedicated on September 11, 2009. The column was conceived, designed and built by Cork Marcheschi, a San Francisco public artist and sculptor with a 33-year career in public art, who has gained international renown for his use of energy and light in large public projects as well as in his unique fine art pieces, inspired originally by the Dada movement.
The dedication of the 30 foot tall glass and steel sculpture came as the culmination, for Cork Marcheschi, of a two-year project which began with a competition in 2007, and a concept which was a departure from the usual idea of a memorial sculpture of a great man. Cork Marcheschi, is himself a professional musician and a long-term fan of the Toledo born jazz piano genius Art Tatum (1909-1956) who, despite his near blindness, astonished his contemporaries and future musicians with his extraordinary and sometimes avant-garde, virtuoso playing.
Patricia Levey, who chaired the Art Tatum Memorial Committee which involved managing a community outreach, a design review committee, fundraising, and communication with the artist throughout the project culminating with the installation and dedication of the sculpture, explains that the discussion about an Art Tatum Memorial began in the Toledo community more than fifteen years ago and the committee was actively organized six years ago. The city's Public Art Program is managed by the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo whose executive director, Marc Folk, manages a very talented staff. Adam Russell, public art coordinator at the time of the Tatum project, worked directly with Cork Marcheschi in Toledo.
"Cork Marcheschi's love for jazz was genuinely evident from the moment he proposed his design for our review," says Ms. Levey. "He captured all of us with his belief that his sculpture was ideal for the Art Tatum Memorial. The committee voted unanimously for his design."
To Cork Marcheschi the memorial was a labor of love – he really went in to win that competition. "The Art Tatum piece was very special for me because of my love of music," he says. "Tatum also represents the outsider who came to music though his own unique experience. He was blind and learned to play piano by feeling the keys being depressed on his mom's piano. He didn't realize that many of the pieces he learned to play this way were duets."
"I like situations where unlikely circumstances turn into ideal situations," he adds. "The piece is a simple design based on a keyboard but a twisted keyboard. The warping of the keyboard is a direct representation of Art Tatum's incomparable ability to bend the piano."
The 30 foot column consists of 88 ivory and black powder-coated stainless steel keys each separated from the next by three-quarter inch plate glass through which shines a blue light, created by the 400 high-intensity, long-lasting LEDs, each about a square inch with a 180° spread of light.
Pat Levey says, "Working with Cork was flawless. His immediate response to our questions, his understanding of the delay due to fundraising challenges in a difficult economy, his ability to coordinate the engineering details with the plaza architect and our public arts coordinator and his patient, intelligent and perceptive style allowed the project to move forward with ease. He and his team engineered the installation precisely, and we are fortunate to have a Cork Marcheschi sculpture in our Toledo public art collection. I also am pleased to refer to Cork as a friend."
Already the Art Tatum Column, has, according to Pat Levey, "Become an icon both by day and night in the plaza of the Lucas County Multipurpose Arena. It is often photographed when news of sports or musical events are planned for the arena. It is a constant reminder, through the vision of Cork Marcheschi, of the musical culture that jazz legend Art Tatum presented to Toledo."
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About Cork Marcheschi, Sculptor
In the last 33 years, Cork Marcheschi has completed over 50 public art projects around the world, each piece unique, original and different. What they have in common is an ingenious use of light and energy. In addition, Cork Marcheschi has been creating and showing fine art sculpture pieces around the USA. He has a retrospective show at the Peninsula Museum of Art in Belmont, CA, July 18 – September 26, 2010 and a show of new work at the Braunstein Quay Gallery in San Francisco from December 16, 2010 into January 2011. Cork’s work can be seen at www.corkmarcheschi.com.
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