Midwest Sculpture Initiative Coming to Fostoria

Fostoria Chosen To Host a Midwest Sculpture Initiative Exhibit

Installation to take place on May 31st for year-long exhibit.

  After being on the waiting list for the Midwest Sculpture Initiative (MSI), Fostoria was chosen to be one of 16 host communities for a public art exhibit in 2018/2019.  Eight pieces will be installed in various locations from Perry Street through Main Street on Thursday, May 31st and will be in place for one year.

Last summer Michele Cochran, Community Development/Tourism Director, talked to MSI administrator, Ken Thompson, about his unique sculpture exhibition program that places outdoor sculpture exhibits in host communities. “In discussion with Ken of MSI, I learned that the exhibits serve to increase awareness of the visual arts, assert that a community is forward-thinking and energetic, improve the quality of life, dress up the urban landscape and provide artists with a venue to showcase and sell their work. I thought participation in this initiative would be a unique opportunity to bring something new and different to our community—not only for our residents, but also for our visitors—so I asked to put Fostoria on their waiting list,” said Cochran.

MSI typically coordinates 12-15 outdoor exhibits each year with many host communities participating year after year. In November 2017, Cochran received a call from MSI saying one of the host communities would not be participating in the 2018/2019 exhibit, which created an opening for a new city to participate. The community that was at the top of the waiting list was unable to secure funding. With Fostoria next in line, Cochran accepted the invitation to host an exhibit this year.

MSI’s mission is to provide outdoor sculpture exhibitions throughout the Midwest, promote cooperation among art and civic organizations, advance the role that the visual arts play in the quality of life and increase economic development. In pursuing this goal, MSI has assembled 119 such exhibits thus far. In organizing these exhibits MSI has collaborated with community members, committees, individual hosts, arts professionals and sculptors. MSI has a database of over 1,700 sculptors to solicit work from, a website for promotion of exhibitions, a large inventory of “rentable” concrete pads, the heavy equipment necessary for the placement of pads and artwork, and the expertise to complete the task. Cochran said, “MSI’s proven success in curating public art exhibits for nearly two decades is impressive. Their exhibits have created quite a following of visitors who travel from city to city to view the outdoor sculptures. We feel very fortunate that Fostoria can participate in this unique opportunity. It will be fun to see people’s reactions to the variety of sculptures we selected, from the scientific to the whimsical. The entire display will bring a smile to your face and be quite the conversation starter.”

Earlier this year, Thompson met with the local selection committee, who reviewed 200 slides of available sculptures to select eight pieces for our exhibit. The selection committee consisted of: Renee Smith, President of Fostoria Economic Development Corporation; Sarah Stephens Krupp, Chamber/Small Business Director, Fostoria Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau; Browning Payne, President of Fostoria Community Arts Council; Toni Lucadello, former art educator and sculptor; and Cochran.

The eight sculptures that will be part of the exhibit in Fostoria beginning May 31st include:

  • Glass Totem 4 & 11 by Todd Kime of Ottawa Hills, Ohio
  • Dark Energy by Toni Lucadello of Fostoria, Ohio
  • Promise To Flower by Ric Leichliter of Sugar Grove, Ohio
  • Winter Moon by Ray Katz of Pontiac, Michigan
  • Summer by Pamela Reithmeier of Monclova, Ohio
  • Skate Horse by Jonathan Bowling of Greenville, North Carolina
  • Blue Sky Wedge by Glenn Zweygardt of Alfred Station, New York
  • Copper Moon by Michael Magnotta of East Lansing, Michigan

Each sculptor receives a stipend for “loaning” their pieces to the exhibit for the year. MSI charges a modest project administration and installation fee. Funding for Fostoria’s 2018-2019 sculpture display was provided by grants from the Greater Fostoria Community Foundation, Inc. and the Henry H. Geary Memorial Foundation.

All sculptures in the exhibit are available for sale. If a piece sells while on display in Fostoria, the Fostoria Area Visitors Bureau will receive a commission that they will likely use toward future sculpture exhibits. While all expenses have been paid for the 2018/2019 exhibit, the Fostoria Area Visitors Bureau is accepting donations toward the cost for Fostoria to be a host community in 2019/2020. Later this fall, MSI will contact the Fostoria Area Visitors Bureau to determine their interest in participating in the following year’s exhibit. Individuals and businesses who would be interested in sponsoring a future sculpture may contact Michele Cochran, Community Development/Tourism Director at 419-435-0486 or development@fostoriachamber.com for more information.  The name and/or logo of the sponsor would be included on a sign that is displayed with the sculpture.

MSI Founder, Ken Thompson Biography

Ken Thompson holds a Master of Liberal Studies in Sculpture from the University of Toledo and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting and printmaking from Siena Heights College (University), Adrian, Michigan. Ken has been making sculpture for over thirty-five years from his studio in Blissfield, Michigan. From this facility, he and his assistants also operate Flatlanders Sculpture Supply & Art Galleries and the Midwest Sculpture Initiative. Ken is well versed in bronze casting and metal fabrication but prefers stone carving.

The major focus of Ken’s work since 1997 has been on large scale public sculpture with commissions such as Reclamation Archway for Blue Cross/Blue Shield in Detroit, the Peace Arch for the City of Toledo in honor of the veterans of the Vietnam War, the Korean War Memorial in Toledo, OH, the Centennial Arch in Sylvania, OH and the Community Arch in Canton, MI. Other large commissions include works at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, MI, Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, OH, Children’s Park in Toledo, OH, Copley Chapel at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, Corpus Christi University Parish in Toledo, OH, the LCVA Millennium Project in Adrian, MI, St. Patrick of Bryan, OH, Siena Heights University and the Dominican Motherhouse, both in Adrian, MI, the Ancient Order of Hibernian’s memorial to the Irish Potato Famine, the Port St. Lucie Arch at Florida Atlantic University, Port St. Lucie, FL and the Alumni Plaza, Corpus Christi University Parish, Toledo, OH, Sylvania, OH,  Alma, MI,  Jackson, MI, Bonita Springs, FL, Saline, MI, Bowling Green State University and Jackson College in Jackson, MI. All told, Ken has completed well over 50 large-scale public sculptures.

In addition to making large sculptures, Ken enjoys doing smaller scale work for gallery exhibitions.  He has twenty-six one person shows, numerous group exhibitions, as well as many awards to his credit.

For more information on the Midwest Sculpture Initiative, see: www.msisculpture.com