The City of Carmel welcomed two new statues to its J. Seward Johnson sculpture collection this weekend. The statue “One Man’s Search,” featuring a man wearing a Carmel High School sweater sitting on a bench reading a book, will be placed in front of Huddles Frozen Yogurt located at 110 West Main Street, Suite 115. The statue “Ambassador of the Streets,” depicting a woman dressed in a red business suit walking her dog, will be placed in front of 14 Districts boutique located at 110 West Main Street, Suite 104.
The statues will complement the city’s current collection of sculptures from this artist and expand our walkable outdoor museum of J. Seward Johnson sculptures in the Arts & Design District. Each of the 14 statues averaged $80,000 in cost. Johnson has been referred to as the “Norman Rockwell of American Sculpture.” The unique design of the sculptures turns heads because of their life-like appearance. Johnson uses a technique to apply paint to the bronze sculpture making the life-size pieces appear realistic. Only eight of each sculpture design are ever created in order to ensure their exclusivity.
“The addition of these realistic sculptures enhances the enjoyment of a visit to the Carmel Arts & Design District. Visitors to the area will be able to discover the sculptures as they shop and dine in the area. Many will stop and have their picture taken with the sculpture to capture the moment. We realize the tremendous impact that the arts have on economic development and are investing in the district to help attract customers and businesses to the area,” said Mayor Jim Brainard.
The city’s collection of J. Seward Johnson statues are part of its initiative of designating the city’s Old Town area as the Arts & Design District. Since the city’s commitment to the revitalization of Old Town through investment in infrastructure and redevelopment efforts through the Carmel Redevelopment Commission, this area has been transformed from vacant storefronts to a thriving shopping and dining destination of more than 100 businesses, many of them arts-related. Over time, it is the City’s goal to include other types of outside sculptures from a variety of artists and styles in addition to the two non-Johnson pieces currently located in the District.
Statues currently included in Carmel’s walkable outdoor museum of J. Seward Johnson sculptures:
· “First Ride” – located along Monon Trail just south of Main Street; depicts father helping daughter learn to ride a bike
· “Sidewalk Concert” – placed outside Carmel Music Store on north side of Main Street just east of Lurie Gallery of Art; shows a violinist serenading passers by
· “There, Now You Can Grow” – standing just outside World’s Smallest Children’s Art Gallery on the northeast corner of Main Street and 1st Avenue NW; small girl watering flowers
· “Confirming Predictions” – located on a bench just outside Arts & Design District office; man in suit reading stock market information
· “Holding Out” – installed in front of Joe’s Meat and Fish Market on the south side of Main Street; depicts an older woman holding shopping bags
· “Who’s in Charge” – A young boy in overalls and hat sitting on a man’s shoulders. Located on Range Line Road just north of Main Street, outside of the Simply Sweet Shoppe.
· “Things To Do” – A business woman sitting on a bench with a pen and notebook while deep in thought with her sunglasses in hand. Located on Range Line Road just south of Main Street, right outside of the Renaissance Fine Art & Design Gallery.
· “Unconditional Surrender” – A soldier embraces a nurse with a big kiss, mimicking one of the most famous photos in history, the “VJ Day Kiss,” snapped by photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt to commemorate the victory over Japan, which the end of WWII on August 14th, 1945. Located on Main Street just east of Range Line Road near Artisan Masterpiece.
· “The Right Light” – An artist at work painting his view of the Carmel Arts & Design District archways; Located on the northwest corner of the roundabout intersection at Main Street and 4th Avenue.
· “Oh It’s You, Welcome” - A police officer greeting and waving. Located on the Monon Greenway just north of Main Street.
· “Elemental” – A woman holding a Carmel Arts & Design District shopping bag wearing a jacket and scarf while a man also in a jacket is behind her holding an umbrella over the two of them with the element of a wind gust against their clothing. Located along Range Line Road, a few blocks south of Main Street, right outside of the Indiana Design Center.
J. Seward Johnson wasn’t always a sculptor; he started as a painter and then, in 1968, he decided to try his hand at the medium of sculpture and has focused on life-size bronze cast figures. It turned out to be a great decision, as more than 200 pieces of Johnson’s work have been featured in private collections in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia, as well as prominent public places such as Rockefeller Center and the World Trade Center in New York City and Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver, Canada. Johnson's work has also been selected for the International Sculpture Conference Exhibition and is sited in Washington, D.C. on a long term loan. He has also had exhibitions in the Galleria Ca D'oro, Piazza di Spagna, Rome, the RW Norton Art Museum, the Knoxville Museum of Art, the Wave Hill Sculpture Park, the Jacksonville Art Museum at Yale University, and solo exhibitions in Connecticut, New Jersey, Texas, California, New York, Washington, D.C., as well as in Mexico and Canada.