May 28, 2010
Though he was born in Georgia and lived in several places while his father served in the military, Peoria has become Fisher Stolz’s hometown.
“I’ve lived in Peoria longer than any other place in my life,” said the Bradley associate professor of art, who’s lived in Peoria for 16 years. “I’ve built a home here and sunk in roots.”
Though a few of Stolz’s sculptures belong to private collections in the area, much of his work resides in locations such as Chicago, Indiana, New Jersey and Georgia. So Stolz embraced the chance to create a piece for the Peoria Civic Center’s permanent collection.
“The opportunity to be able to do a piece for my hometown is something that is very exciting to me,” Stolz said. “Now I’m to the point where I can make the piece. That’s where the fun begins.”
The sculpture is made possible through a grant written by Suzette Boulais, the executive director of ArtPartners of Central Illinois, to the Community Foundation of Central Illinois. Funding came from the Taylor and Corinne French Fund/Fine Arts Education and the Eugene and Harriet Swager Fund for Public Art Fund of the Community Foundation of Central Illinois.
The sculpture will be located on the fourth level of the Civic Center’s Grand Hall, near the entrance to the ballroom, and will be visible from the ground floor of the atrium.
The endeavor continues the collaboration enjoyed by the Civic Center and Bradley, said Marc Burnett, executive director of marketing and sales for the Civic Center. Bradley was one of the original tenants in the Civic Center and the men’s basketball team continues to play in the Carver Arena. Hundreds of thousands of people annually attend Civic Center events.
“One of the things we’re happy about is the interaction between Bradley and the Civic Center,” he said. “It’s always been there and it’s always been a strong relationship. We offer that kind of attitude and perspective to the artists that have their pieces here.”
When brainstorming ideas, Stolz first considered words that represented Peoria. Some of those terms included progress, communication and centrality.
He then explored how the Civic Center helps shape Peoria by bringing in a variety of events from ballets to symphonies to wedding receptions to contemporary music concerts.
“I thought about the strong influence that the Civic Center has had on the region,” Stolz said. “It brings people together sharing talents, information and knowledge while creating dialogues.”
From there, Stolz sketched ideas and experimented with scale models before coming up with the final design – a nine-foot tall piece of limestone supported by three steel arcs on a triangular base and encircled at the top by a sphere made from linked steel rings. The arcs represent the work that goes into innovating, planning and coordinating an event at the Civic Center. The limestone represents the form of a cohesive idea. And the sphere represents the culmination of the event. The piece is entitled “Event.”
In creating his piece, Stolz considered all the elements he teaches his students.
“We talk about things like unity; we talk about the play between positive and negative space, color and textures on the surfaces of things,” he said. “We talk about rhythms that are created and how the eye moves along edges and lines. I work with these terms all the time, I teach them and I use them in my own work.”
The grant stipulates that the piece be finished by fall, so Stolz will devote his summer to finishing the piece – as well as another he’s creating for the Harrison School. He’ll carve his piece on Bradley’s campus before transporting it to the Civic Center.
The sketches and models of the piece have been met with much approval.
“I zoned in on the Civic Center and how it relates to Peoria’s vision,” Stolz said.
WCBU: Interview with Fisher Stolz