An artist poses next to their sculpture
Artist John Ross poses with his sculpture "Three Moons Ripple Down Blue Hollow." It's part of Sculpture Walk Springfield's eighth collection, which will be revealed April 29. (Photo: Sculpture Walk Springfield)

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Sculpture Walk Springfield is ready to usher in a new era, with a collection of pieces that are bigger and brighter than ever. And you can see them starting Saturday, April 29.

That’s when Sculpture Walk is holding its 8th Collection Reveal and Art Alley Party on Robberson Street between Walnut and McDaniel in Downtown Springfield.

“I think we’re going to start seeing more large-scale pieces that are going to affect the community and have a positive impact on downtown,” said Bridget Bechtel, Sculpture Walk’s executive director. “We’ll be seeing a lot of the artists that we have been working with in the past, just bringing us much bigger pieces than they usually do.”

Sculpture Walk Springfield bills itself as a “museum without walls with access to all.” Its collection of sculptures is placed around downtown and at Jordan Valley Park and the Rountree neighborhood.

Light-emitting sculpture to help illuminate Park Central Square

A crane places a big, blue sculpture on a grassy lawn
Sculpture Walk Springfield is placing “Long Way Home,” by Nathan Pierce, on the lawn outside the former Regal Cinema in downtown Springfield. It’s part of Sculpture Walk’s eighth collection, which will be revealed April 29. (Photo: Sculpture Walk Springfield)

Perhaps the most exciting pieces in the new collection come from California-based artist Taylor Dean Harrison. He’s contributing a pair of light-emitting sculptures that will be on display for two years. One will be attached to the Golden Girl Rum Club.

“It’s going to be on the corner (of the Golden Girl Rum Club), so they’ll have half of it on one side and half of it on the other,” said Bechtel, who took over directing the Sculpture Walk in February. “That piece is going to be called ‘Wave Guide.’ It’s going to be these pillars that are going to look like a wave and they’re going to emit light onto the square.”

Sculpture Walk teams up with Hatch Foundation for beautification project

“Perennity,” Harrison’s other installment, will be attached to a garage in the alley behind MudLounge, off Robberson. It’s part of a  beautification project in partnership with the Hatch Foundation, Bechtel said.

“There are three tall, lamp-like fixtures and the top of them is going to be sculpted out. It will create a mosaic-looking light display on the alleyway,” she said. “In addition to beauty, (they’re) also very functional because they emit light. So we’re going to be lighting up those alleyways and lighting up the square, making it feel a little safer.”

The alley now has a stairway from MudLounge to Best of Luck Beer Hall, off Jefferson. That stairway has been adorned with a mural, painted by artist Christine Riutzel. The mural includes images of some of Sculpture Walk’s previous pieces as well as some of the sculptures from this year. You can get a look at it, too, during the Art Alley Party.

A brightly colored mural adorns a concrete staircase
A mural by Christine Riutzel adorns a new stairway connecting the alley behind MudLounge to Best of Luck Beer Hall in downtown Springfield. (Photo: Jeff Kessinger)

Bigger pieces added, existing sculptures shuffled around

Returning artist Nathan Pierce will have a pair of new sculptures in the collection, including a large-scale piece on the lawn outside the former Regal Cinema, at Campbell and College. Fellow returning artist J. Aaron Alderman is replacing “When Lightning Strikes,” outside of Hotel Vandivort with a piece called “When We Were Young,” which is three times bigger.

And in addition to the new pieces, Bechtel said they’re moving around pieces from Sculpture Walk’s permanent collection to new locations, giving the public another chance to see them.

A sculpture of three human figures balancing in a stack, standing on each other's shoulders
“When We Were Young,” by J. Aaron Alderman is part of Sculpture Walk Springfield’s eighth collection. (Photo: Jeff Kessinger)

“We want everyone to be able to see the pieces we’ve had for a while that haven’t gotten a lot of attention,” she said. “We’re trying to re-focus Sculpture Walk so we do not get lost in the landscape. I think it can be very easy to, once you’ve seen something a couple of times, stop seeing it. So we want to reframe that with these large-scale pieces and we think we’re going to be able to accomplish that.”

Art Alley Party free, open to the public

The Art Alley Party starts at 5 p.m. Saturday and is free and open to the public. It will feature live music from the band Red Light Runner and Tie & Timber Beer Company will be onsite serving beer. There will be pizza from Pappo’s Pizzeria, as well as tours and a chance to meet the artists. The party runs until 8 p.m., and then comes the official afterparty at Best of Luck Beer Hall.

“We’ll also be selling T-shirts,” Bechtel said. “We’re going to have some local artists presenting their work. It’s just going to be a fun block party.

“I think we’re going to have a really wonderful collection this year. It’s going to be beautiful, it’s going to be very different than what we’ve seen in the past and I hope people come out, take a look and pick a favorite.”

Want to go?

What: Sculpture Walk Springfield’s 8th Collection Reveal and Art Alley Party

When: Saturday, April 29, at 5 p.m.

Where: On Robberson Avenue, between Walnut and McDaniel

For more information: Visit Sculpture Walk Springfield’s website, check out the Facebook event page and follow them on Instagram.

Jeff Kessinger

Jeff Kessinger is the Reader Engagement Editor for the Springfield Daily Citizen, and the voice of its daily newsletter SGF A.M. He covered sports in southwest Missouri for the better part of 20 years, from young athletes to the pros. The Springfield native and Missouri State University alumnus is thrilled to be doing journalism in the Queen City, helping connect the community with important information. He and wife Jamie daily try to keep a tent on the circus that is a blended family of five kids and three cats. More by Jeff Kessinger