News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Meaden & Moore

Metro RTA

Greater Akron Chamber


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Arts and Entertainment


Canton installs the first of "The Eleven"
The Pro Football Hall of Fame picked the moments; Arts in Stark picked the art
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
 
Click for slideshow: Canton City Hall is framed by the "Birth of the NFL," the first of 11 public art projects theme around the 11 greatest moments of the NFL.
Courtesy of M.L. SCHULTZE
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

When the Pro Football Hall of Fame parade steps off in downtown Canton Saturday morning, the floats, balloons and bands will be marching past a 23-foot configuration of I-beams, stainless steel and glass. It’s the first piece of a $2.2 million public art project – marrying Canton’s pro football identity with its growing arts community. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze was there for this morning’s  installation.

LISTEN: Art and football marry in Canton

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:48)


John Grant’s a project manager, and his job description is simple: “Kind of turnkey, get-it-done sort of guy.”

‘Getting it done’ in this case means planting 2 tons of weathered, rust-colored steel beams through the sidewalk – extending into a foundation well below -- then easing the centerpiece of the artwork onto that steel pedestal.

"We need to do a little dance in the air with a crane to get it orientated in a way that we can drop it now onto the top of that, kind of like the star on the top of a Christmas tree," he explains as he looks up at the crane.

The ‘star’ he's talking about placing is actually four massive stainless struts curving into the abstract shape of a football, with the letters of the NFL inside the cocoon. Then come the dichroic glass and internal and external lighting.

Other wordly
One box of that glass made the 14-hour trip from Denver to Canton on the seat in Steve Best’s truck cab, while the rest rode on the 40-foot flatbed trailer behind. Best says he got some looks along the way.

“They’re going like, ‘What is that?’ as we’re driving down the road. I’m sure people thought it was some kind of satellite or something, some kind of space thing.”

And in white shrink-wrap, it does look a bit like that. But when the wrapping comes off, it looks a lot more like the plans that Akron native and Denver artist Michael Clapper submitted a year ago. That’s when he was competing for the commission to create the first of 11 pieces -- selected by Arts In Stark -- to commemorate pro football’s greatest moments – as selected by the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Change is a constant in public art
Clapper says his work did undergo some changes over the past year, and he expected that.

“Every time you do a public art project, there are concerns of the committee for safety and things like that, so it’s typical for the design to change a little.” 

In this case, the biggest change is the pedestal itself. Clapper’s original design called for his spheroid to sit on the ground. The concern there was  “people could kid of climb up on it, get up in. And as my project manager John Grant always says, you have to think about the unsupervised 14-year-old boys.”

But Clapper says he also embraced the change as an artist – and a proud native of the rust belt.

“Of course, it’s formed out of I-beams, as a nod to the steel industry in Canton, Ohio, an industry that made Canton what it is today.”

Birth and birthplace of the NFL
Cut into those beams are the names of the Cleveland Indians, Dayton Triangles, Canton Bulldogs and seven other teams. That’s because, just a few feet away from Clapper’s “Birth of the NFL” artwork is the spot where Ralph Hay’s Hupmobile dealership stood, and the place where the representatives of those 10 teams – including Jim Thorpe -- met on Sept. 17, 1920 and created the National Football League.

Arts in Stark Director Robb Hankins says the goal is to have all 11 pieces of the project in place by the NFL’s 100th anniversary in 2020. The next two pieces will be sculptures, likely marking the beginning of the NFL draft in 1936 and Pete Rozelle becoming the NFL commissioner who arguably made pro football America’s pastime.

“Then we’re going to do a national call for a giant mural on the reintegration of football. And if I had my fantasy, it’s going to go on that parking deck up the street. And then we’re going to start working on the other moments. We’re trying to make all 11 pieces within walking distance and so in our minds, with the couch-potato mentality that exists, that’s probably no more than 15 blocks, maybe 10.”

Hankins says about half of the more than $2 million needed for the project has been committed. And he expects the lit sphere jutting into the night across from Canton’s City Hall will go a ways toward raising the rest.  


(Click image for larger view.)

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Terry Pluto: U of A's new athletic director has the toughest job in town
It is a hard sell. The Students do not want to go to the football games and they do not want to pay for the program. They have a lot of student loan debt and t...

Akron considering the future of the B.F. Goodrich smokestacks
This BFGoodrich alumna says, "Thank you, Dave Lieberth!"

State creates panel to look at Ohio charter school sponsors
It is more than disturbing that charter schools, which seemed like a good idea years ago, have begun to cripple public school education.

DEVO mural in Akron is now on display downtown
The installation is not at the former site of Chili Dog Mac. CDM was one block north on the other side of Main St.

New report shows growth in white collar jobs for Northeast Ohio
Unfortunately, there are fewer jobs in comparison to the number of professionals applying for them. I have been had a full time job since June 2012. In order to...

Advocacy group: Ohio could lead in clean energy
Ohio Legislators, You are supposed to be our leaders but you're not taking us where we want to go - where we need to go!

Campaign for and against marijuana legalization begins
Cannabis legalization needs to happen as soon as possible! But not if it gives monopolies to a selected few to grow and sell the herb. Responsible Ohio's mono...

Heinen's in downtown Cleveland sponsors a contest for food entrepreneurs
Love that this took place right here! What a way to support local. Thank you Heinens! Love this quote, as a small local biz, I agree, it's big!! "To be a small...

Pluto: How the Indians' blockbuster deal went bust
Terry, As a long time reader of yours I am generally on the same page - and we're also about the same age. Anyway, like many, I am dismayed at the greedy and en...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University