Public art in Grand Island

While visiting Grand Island, Nebraska last week I walked by this bronze sculpture:


I’ve seen more and more of these over the last few years. Despite often appealing to an overt cute factor, it’s nice to see new installations of public art.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

5 Responses to Public art in Grand Island

  1. doug says:

    this is not art.
    It is something you buy out of a catalog.

  2. TAE says:

    All right then, so what is art? I’d love to hear your own definition. It’s something I’ve struggled with for years now, and if it’s actually so easy to come by please help me out.

    And, yes, I’m aware that things like this can be bought from catalogs. But how is a gallery different than a catalog? Is it that items sold in catalogs are most likely mass-produced? What then of a printmaker’s craft? If an artist decides to create an edition of 200 of his or her woodcut, does it then become less than art?

    While even I would prefer some more interesting works such as Jun Kaneko’s dangos (profiled late last month), preference isn’t a basis for defining art.

  3. balm says:

    this is an interesting conversation. doug is stating more of his opinion of the sculpture rather than whether it is “art” or not. i have a tendency to do the same thing (as an artist it is built in to critique), so don’t worry doug i am not badmouthing you. there does come a point when the reproduction of an object called “art” starts to loose its artfulness and originallity when it gets highly marketed. here is where the delima comes into play, marketing is basically what all artists want, their art shown to anyone who might be interested. however, at what point does marketing to show off your abilities and talents as an artist become “a sell out” and more about the money than the talents. this is something that raises more opinions and questions than answers. is this then more craft than art?

    i just quoted a project with a ny artist who wanted us to produce 25 cacti in a public art sculpture area in cast glass. where does this fit? i was in the position of consulting, value engineering, and legistics. the artists didn’t have the tools, experience or knowledge of the material to produce it himself. it was however his concept, design, proposal and final say so how it was executed.

    I believe many of these questions come down to opinion, which as my wife could vouch for, i don’t lack for.

    i do however appreciate the conversation, as it makes us all think. i also appreciate that i see a trend moving towards a value of “art” again. i hope it continues!

  4. TAE says:

    “the artists didn’t have the tools, experience or knowledge of the material to produce it himself. it was however his concept, design, proposal and final say so how it was executed.”

    Sounds a bit like a classical artist and his workshop in its modern incarnation.

    And for the record I never said that I liked the work I posted. It’s merely an appreciation for visual consideration in accordance with this blog’s vision. Truth be told I don’t have much of an opinion on the sculpture, other than what I’ve already said: ” . . . often appealing to an overt cute factor . . ”

    How do you get work coming to you like the cacti you refer to???

  5. balm says:

    It is very much like many classical artist.

    In regards to the project like the cacti, I requested that my business ( be listed as a sculpture resource on a sculpture website. They put this online a month and a half ago and this was my first project off of the site. It was very exciting to get to quote on a project like this, since it is in my field of study (sculpture). You can view the start of my website at .

    Also, for the record, the bronze piece that you posted wasn’t something that I am drawn to either. There is an artist here in Lawrence name Jim Brothers who is very talented and does many public art bronze sculptures all over the country, and his are very well done. I am however very excited that there is tending to be a trend towards an interest in art again.

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