Strolling along Norfolk Avenue has always been an opportunity to window shop and people watch.
For the past year, that stroll has included the opportunity to peruse a sculpture garden. Last spring, 10 bronze, stone and stainless steel sculptures were placed around town, most of them along or near Norfolk Avenue.
Now, those sculptures are being replaced with new ones, and two more are being added to the collection, bringing the total to 12.
“We were very pleased with the response (to the sculptures), said Traci Jeffrey, director of the Norfolk Area Visitors Bureau, which is coordinating the effort. “It’s exciting to see the program expanding.”
The new sculptures include a giant stainless steel Jacobian Lily created by Mike Fluent of Wayne.
Fluent used a plasma cutter to cut out the 8-foot flower, he said. the pieces are bent into shape and welded together and should last a long time.
“I love the shape of the lily,” he said. “And I love the durability of stainless steel.”
In addition to Fluent’s lily, the new sculptures include a shepherd carrying a sheep, a farmer, an eagle a butterfly and several more abstract pieces.
Several of the new sculptures are in place already, and the rest will be in place soon. Most of them will be situated along Norfolk Avenue, between Seventh Street and East Norfolk Avenue, in front of HyVee East.
Two, including Fluent’s lily, are located at the intersection of First Street and Norfolk Avenue, one on the southeast corner and one on the northeast corner. The shepherd is in front of the Norfolk Arts Center. All of the sculptures are for sale.
Sculpture walk maps are available for download from the visitor’s bureau website, which is visitnorfolkne.com.
To enhance the experience, viewers can download an audio guide called Otocast from Apple iTunes or Google Play. The guide offers a short talk by the artist who created the sculpture that people can listen to on their phones as they view it.
The visitors bureau is also offering guided tours for small groups, and viewers can vote for their favorite sculpture with a chance of winning an Apple Watch provided by Midtown Health Center.
After all, while viewing art is good for the soul, it can also be good for the body. Jeffrey said.
“We’re encouraging people to get out and walk,” she said.