MACOMB — The first two pieces for this year’s installment of the downtown sculpture walking tour were installed Thursday morning, bringing an update to the attraction in time for Heritage Days.
Artist Skip Willits installed his pieces “The Red Road Home” and “Lagrange Point.”
Willits is a 1978 graduate of Western Illinois University with a degree in art. He currently operates out of Camanche, Iowa, just north of the Quad Cities. The two pieces, “The Red Road Home” and “Lagrange Point“ are the first two pieces to be installed for this year’s rotating sculpture exhibit around downtown Macomb. “The Red Road Home” is located in the green space southwest of Chandler Park. “Lagrange Point“ is located by Macomb Public Library. Willits explained Lagrange Point is the halfway point between two places.
“In this day and age of opposites, political and everything else, I thought that would be a good title for a sculpture,” Willits said.
“I make it very complicated and puzzle-like in the way I approach it,” Willits said of how he names his sculptures. Willits said many artists have an idea and a working title. “I don’t work that way. I have images in my head. I create the sculpture. This particular, the pods…is an ongoing series. I work in series producing these pod-like shapes. Where the tile comes in is I also have a title book. Anywhere I travel to where I see good titles, or I think of good titles, I jot them down. I’ve been doing it for so long now people send me titles.”
He said even with having titles to choose from, the process isn’t entirely random. “I create the sculpture, and then I start leafing through titles. Somewhere along the line it just pops. This sculpture in particular, “The Red Road Home,” is an old shaman poem where you look to the north, you look the south, you look to the east; and you look to the good red road home.”
These pieces are the first pieces of his to be in the outdoor exhibit.
Willits likes the city’s two-year approach to the exhibit.
“Just one year — it seems like a long time — but people just get used to the sculpture after months and months. They look at it a few times, and they associate with it more. Then as far as the program, as far as Kristin (Terry) and Duke (Oursler), it seems like you’re just turning right around after one year with the calls and all that. A two-year commitment gives you a chance to look at the sculpture  and decide who you want.”
According to Downtown Development Director Kristin Terry, more sculptures will be installed next week, and all sculptures should be in place by June 15. For more information on the exhibit, go online to https://www.facebook.com/DowntownMacomb/

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