May 21, 2024

Sculpture to be installed outside Jasper County administration building

Monument will add to Newton’s more than 90 pieces of public art work

Supervisors gave the go-ahead to have a sculpture installed outside the county administration building, pending the approval of a contract.

Bruce Showalter, a committee member of the Iowa Sculpture Festival, had approached maintenance director Adam Sparks about a month ago about the project. The monument would be installed on the northeast corner of the yard, under the condition that it be securely bolted on concrete base pads.

“If at any given time they want to move them, they can move them and take the pads with them,” Sparks said, noting the committee was willing to pour the pads to be five inches thick. “…I think Bruce has done the work from that point. He’s been working Karl (Peters) is willing to pour the pads.”

The sculpture is six-piece group resembling a marching jazz band. Showalter said the sculpture was donated by Pat and Gary Wallace from Wallace Funeral Home, and he felt the area where it would reside was a good location. Iowa Sculpture Festival will still maintain ownership of the sculpture.

“If you guys don’t want them there for some reason or we decide we need to move them, then with notice to you guys we can move them,” Showalter said. “We’ll pay for that. We’re actually having them re-painted. They’re black now … and they’re going to paint them red.”

Showalter said the sculptures would also be insured in case anything happens to them. The committee would cover the costs of the repainting and the pads, and at this point would only need the permission of the board of supervisors to install them. Supervisors chairman Brandon Talsma looked to Sparks.

“I’m not the one who is going to have to mow and weed around them,” he said.

Sparks replied, “That’s why we asked for the pads to be put in just so it’s easy to trim around and easy to maintain. If they wanted to take them, they can take them. And then we can just lay a little seed back down in those areas where the pads were. That’s all.”

If the county decided to have the sculpture on its property, Sparks said he wanted to make sure they wouldn’t be knocked down.

“That’s what we asked and they’re willing to do that,” he said. “We mow around a hundred things anyway. It’s not a big deal.”

Talsma had no issue with adding the sculpture, especially if the Iowa Sculpture Festival committee would maintain ownership of them and pour the pads. The board suggested the committee draft an agreement for the county attorney to review. Sparks asked Showalter how long the sculptures would stay.

Showalter said at least five years, but the committee was not planning on moving them.

Newton is home to more than 90 pieces of public art work, including sculptures and murals, according to Travel Iowa.

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig has a strong passion for community journalism and covers city council, school board, politics and general news in Newton, Iowa and Jasper County.