Your public library has always been full of art. Every book on our shelves is a work of art by a talented literary artist. Authors transport us, make us laugh or cry, and expand our awareness of the world – as do artists who work in paint, photography, or sculpture. Our gallery hall has been a natural extension of our collection and it often displays the work of local artists. Our hope is that from the moment you walk in our door, you will be inspired. Inspired by art and by story and by possibilities, you will go home with armfuls of inspiration.
Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. – Pablo Picasso
In many cities around the country 1% of public project money must be spent on art installations. When you enter libraries or other public buildings in these cities, you immediately feel and see the difference this investment has made. For years we have hoped to install some public art at GPL, but we needed the right time. We’ve had so much else to do, that art remained a dream. After all, we needed our building to be well maintained, safe, and more energy efficient. We always have payroll and benefits and utilities to pay, and most importantly, resources and programs to provide for our community. But this year, with the library stable, healthy, and celebrating our 100th birthday, the time was right.
Enter the Friends of Greenwood Public Library.
When you walk through our library and find yourself saying, “Wow!” you are probably looking at a project the Friends have touched. They allow us to dream big, to innovate, and to provide the kind of library experience we otherwise could not. The Friends heard about our dream for this public art piece, and got to work. Our Director of Development Jane Weisenbach began conversations with local library and art lovers, looking for investors who shared our dream.
Meanwhile, I contacted Jon Racek, an Indiana artist, and began the process of making this idea a reality. “A Century of Reading” is a literary art piece which pays homage to many of the titles our patrons have read over the last 100 years. We worked with the Poynter Company to produce and install this sculpture, and on February 7, we will dedicate this one-of-a-kind public art piece.
And here’s the best part – this sculpture was entirely funded by the investment of our community. Wow.
When you see our new sculpture I hope you are inspired. I hope it sparks conversations with your friends and family about what you’ve read. I hope it inspires you to know you live in a community that values art and literacy.
It was nearly 101 years ago that Greenwood residents realized their dream of establishing their own public library. I think they’d be pleased that we are launching our next century still focused on inspiring our community to read. Join us on February 7, as we thank those who made this amazing sculpture possible.