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Mark Aeling, an award-winning artist from St. Petersburg, Florida, will create the first public art piece under the Norman Arts Council's "Norman Forward 1% for Art" program.

31 Jan 2017 12:31 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

Norman Arts Council announces first piece in new public art program

Written by Chandler Kidd, arts & entertainment reporter for OU Daily

Mark Aeling, an award-winning artist from St. Petersburg, Florida, will create the first public art piece under the Norman Arts Council's "Norman Forward 1% for Art" program. 

The Norman Arts Council paired with the city of Norman to create the Norman Forward program in fall of 2015 to help improve the public facilities like libraries and recreational facilities through public art. The "Norman Forward 1% for Art" program receives one percent from the Norman public arts board budget, according to the Norman Arts Council. 

Aeling’s 20-foot sculpture titled "SPLASH" is the first public art piece as part of the program and will be installed at the renovated Westwood Recreational Complex and revealed this summer. "SPLASH" captures the interaction of the facility with its bold colors and design that match Norman’s vision of creating an exciting place for families to visit, according to the website.

The project received a budget of $100,000 and sent out open call requests in the fall of 2016. The project received 155 applicants. The selection panel is composed of the City of Norman designee, a member of the Public Arts Board, Norman Arts Council board member, Ad HOC Committee member, the designer of the complex and local stakeholders. The board decided the three finalists, according to the Norman Arts Council. 

Erinn Gavaghan, executive director of the Norman Arts Council said the arts council is excited to announce this program.

“NAC has been deliberate in developing an intensive, balanced process to amass the highest quality works that we can, and at the conclusion of this slate of Norman Forward 1% for Art projects, our community will have a diverse, impressive selection of public artworks for visitors and citizens to enjoy for generations to come,” Gavaghan said in a release. 

Aeling has "25 years of experience creating large scale, public art pieces. Past clients include the Florida Aquarium, Sea World, Six Flags, the St. Louis Zoo, Anheuser Busch and more," according to Norman Arts Council. 

For more information about "SPLASH" or the program, visit the Norman Arts Council website.

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