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July 10, 2011

New Albany celebrates public art

NEW ALBANY — Tune into the right station at the right place and you could hear some snippet of day-to-day minutia from life in New Albany in the 1820s.

In one instance, an advertisement from a city merchant is being read. Said merchant has freshly returned from a trip to Philadelphia and has new wares to peddle. Can’t miss that.  

Maybe you’ll hear something more serious, a tale of  past tragedy.

The story of a 24-year-old New Albany woman is a particularly sad one. The lady — on an excursion to visit her husband who was working waterside — fell into the Ohio River. Despite an effort by her younger sister, who dived in after her, the young lady died in the water one night in 1932.

You could hear the one about the horse that was found on the road between New Albany and Corydon in 1820.

It’s been appraised for $20, if you’re interested.

Those and several other tales and news items can be heard by tuning into FM 88.3 around the Scribner Drive and Market Street intersection in New Albany. The radio broadcast, called “Time Ghost Tower-Casts #1 and #2” is one of three new pieces of public art that were celebrated Saturday night in New Albany Saturday.

The news items come from old newspapers that artist Scott Scarboro had read and recorded. Scarboro gives the audio a particularly haunting quality, making the title of the piece a fitting monicker. Two decorated transmitter towers stand at the intersection, emitting the radio waves that carry the audio.

He explained that he sought a deep, textured quality for the audio so that those picking it up will know they’ve stumbled onto more than just another talk station. The towers are expected to be up for the next two years, he said.

Scarboro, who was on hand near the intersection with a boombox Saturday night, was talking to visitors about his work during New Albany Public Art Walk. The walk started at the Carnegie Center for Art & History. From there visitors strolled to eight other sites where public art was being displayed or unveiled as a part of the public art project. Five of the pieces have been there since 2010, but three others — including Scarboro’s — were being unveiled for the first time.

Dominic Guarnaschelli, another artist, was at the Carnegie Center where his newest sculpture — called “Resartus” —  was being unveiled.

The shape of the metal sculpture is based on a 19th century dress form. Inside that shape, Guarnaschelli brings patterns — which he said he based off of dress patterns of the same period — into a three dimensional form.

It’s his first piece of public art and he said he was excited to have it displayed in front of the center.

“[The artists] have put their hearts and souls into these works of art,” Carnegie Center Curator Karen Gillenwater said.

The walk was a chance for the public to learn about and engage in all the pieces of art that now adorn New Albany’s streets, said Nicole Markle, who coordinated the event. It was the second year for the walk, but last year’s event was rained out and had to take place on an alternate day.

That hampered participation then, but things were looking up on Saturday.

“I think it’s fantastic. I was really pleased with the number of people who came,” she said.  

“It’s great for New Albany,” said Gene Baker, a Jeffersonville resident who came out for the event. He visited last year as well and he said the character that the works add have brought people to the city.

“We’re thinking about trying to move to downtown New Albany.”

All eight art installments capture elements of New Albany’s history. And additional pieces will be established each year through the city’s bicentennial in 2013.

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Floyd Memorial Hospital and Health Services is pictured on Friday afternoon in New Albany. Floyd County is considering the idea of selling the hospital to help relieve some financial pressure.

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