Sometimes, in the course of our hectic lives, it’s easy to forget — or not even notice — the little things that make living in Frederick County great. In that spirit, I launched, “What I Love in Frederick this Week”: the best food, drink, shows, shopping, and events coming to the city. If you love something in Frederick, let me know. Submissions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweeted to @kamamasters.
In the summer, Carroll Creek is filled with massive water lilies and jewel-toned blossoms. In winter, it’s filled with brightly lit boats. But in the early spring, when torrential rain tends to muddy the waist-high water, there’s not much to draw the eye. It’s a deficiency the Carroll Creek Rotary Club, in partnership with the Ausherman Family Foundation, is working to address.
Last week, members of the foundation released a request for proposals for a kinetic art sculpture, a public art installation designed to invoke movement. The sculpture will sit in the middle of Carroll Creek in a high-trafficked area — either between North Market Street and the Stone Arch Bridge or the Stone Arch Bridge and the pedestrian suspension bridge, said Leigh Adams, the executive director of the Ausherman Family Foundation.
The concept came from the Rotary Club, but the Ausherman Family Foundation — with approval from the city’s Public Art Commission — is funding the first sculpture. The project is slated for installation by March of 2020, and the goal is to make the sculpture garden an annual event with multiple kinetic artworks funded by community partners.
Those sculptures will remain in the creek for at least three to six months and possibly through the fall, until the boats are installed in the creek to mark the winter solstice, said Bernard Gouin, the chairman of the Rotary Club’s Carroll Creek Commission. The club hopes to find at least one other sponsor and display two to three sculptures in the first year of the installation.
“Similar to how the boats were so successful, there’s the vision to have the sculptures go all the way down the creek,” Adams added. “The aquatic plants were a community project, too, so we’re hoping to sponsor the first one and launch that same kind of collaboration.”
The deadline for the initial proposals is Aug. 16 with a budget of $5,000 to $15,000: plenty of funding for an eye-catching installation. And not only do I love the concept of the project — a whole garden of whimsical moving sculptures up and down the creek, neatly aligned with the city’s fledgling support of public artworks — but I love the proposal’s focus on local and regional artists. The initial RFP is limited to artists within 80 miles of Frederick, which should open new opportunities for the county’s active creative community. It’s prime real estate for exposure, too, given the location in the creek.
“It’s going to fill in the blanks at a time when there’s almost nothing else on display,” Gouin said. “We’ve always wanted to highlight the creek and make sure it stays a year-round attraction.”