AU artists and City of Anderson dedicate Arch

Fri, 2012-07-20 11:24 -- univcomm
This past weekend, a new “gateway” to the City of Anderson, was introduced through the Crystal Arch Project. Thanks to the long-term efforts of Arlon Bayliss and Jason Knapp, professors of art at Anderson University, the community dedicated the historical memorial on the southwest corner of the building for the City of Anderson tomorrow. “Public art can give a community some of its identity and inspire us to our common heritage and values,” said Dr. James L. Edwards, president of Anderson University. “We are grateful for the opportunity to, once again, partner with our community through the talents and commitment of these gifted artists and educators as well as so many others who have worked with them.”

The Arch is approximately 36 feet long, 15 feet high, lighted internally, and hold 360 Crystals etched with a piece of Madison County history. The monument is located in what is called the Urban Enterprise Zone, and at the entryway into the Anderson Florentine Arts and Theatre District proposed by Anderson Mayor J. Mark Lawler to bring more of the arts and culture to the downtown area.

“The Crystal Arch is like a bridge, yet it’s not (referring to its half-spiral shape)…it’s just to make it a dynamic shape, an unfinished spiral,” said Bayliss.

Fiber optic cables illuminate each crystal allowing for different effects depending on the time of day or season. Future events will be planned around the arch and the Veteran’s memorial site also located next to the arch on the same spot. A special ceremony to place the first crystal in the arch occurred November 11.

Bayliss and Knapp both stressed that this was a community wide project, not just involving the artists or local businesses. Along with several Anderson University graduates and present art students, there are several long-standing businesses and sponsors who have taken part and continue to see the Crystal Arch Project through till its completion. Each person involved will be represented in some way, whether through etching on a nameplate under each crystal, or a kiosk to be erected on the site in the future, along with a possible book explaining the arch and its history.

Bayliss says the idea is for the community to tell its story. “There were hundreds of people involved in making this.”

Some of the first crystals set in the arch commemorate the dedication and sacrifice of local veterans of the armed services as well as a special crystal remembering the tragic national events of September 11, 2001. Other crystals will highlight the Indian Mounds now located at Mounds State Park in Anderson and the workers of the Gospel Trumpet Company, to name just a few.

According to Bayliss, Mrs. Judy O’ Bannon, the First Lady of Indiana, includes the Crystal Arch Project as one of the many Millennium Projects in communities throughout the state, enthusiastically endorsing this particular project as an example to other communities.

Steve Fultz, director of the Anderson Urban Enterprise Association, a community/economic development organization for the Enterprise Zone in downtown Anderson, referred to the Crystal Arch as a community project that everyone can have a part in.

“The arch will, I believe, serve several functions,” said Fultz. “First, it will open a time capsule of Anderson for generations to view, study and appreciate. It will be a beautiful piece of art to be viewed by many, thus bringing commerce and activity to our downtown and to our community.”

Fultz also thinks it will serve as an identifying signature of Anderson’s district and the city as a whole. “The Crystal Arch belongs to all of us in Madison County,” he said. “I hope people will actively get involved in the stages of the project.”