The new Niles Public Library sculpture, now located in the renovated Commons area on the first floor, was designed and created by well known Chicago artist Terry Karpowicz. Paid for by the Friends of the Niles Public Library, the artwork stands 15 feet high and is constructed from red cedar wood. Located in the stairway atrium, the sculpture is best viewed close up. Visitors to both the lower and upper levels of the Niles Public Library will have views of the artwork from a variety of angles.
Karpowicz, who has exhibited his work throughout the United States and Soviet Union, has sculptures on display in and outside of many public spaces in the Midwest. According to the artist, the inspiration for the design of the sculpture came after he spent time observing the visitors to the Library and discussing the wide variety of individuals who use the Niles Public Library with Director Linda Weiss. His creative ideas began to emerge as he recalled his time collaborating in the Soviet Union with several other artists more than 20 years ago. “None of us spoke the same language, yet we were all had a common vocabulary based on the form and mass of the work. The idea that the Niles Library community is made up of a very diverse population who are all bonding and coming together to learn, be inspired and recharge is portrayed through the construction of the artwork.”
The artist likens the work to a giant puzzle, with each piece separate and independent, but joined together to create a whole, much like the Niles Library community. The only help Karpowicz had with his creation was from his assistant Ceyda Akosman who calls him her mentor. The work has been a labor of love for both of them during the past year.
Knowing that children are important members of the Niles Library community, Karpowicz said they will enjoy figuring out how many wooden butterfly joints are part of the sculpture and with a close inspection, they will discover a number of wooden inlays embedded in the piece.
When asked about the abstract nature of the artwork as a choice versus a more traditional piece of art, Karporwicz explained, “A library is a place for people to open their minds and use their imaginations. Each person that looks at the work will bring their own history and background to their interpretation of the piece.”
After a nearly two day installation at the Library, when the final bolt was fastened on the brackets that anchor the artwork to the floor, Karpowicz took time to admire his work. “The form suggests that there is energy derived from the actual Library that is “funneled” upward through the “legs” to create the swirling mass of rings up top.” The many visitors who will spend time viewing the artwork will surely all have their own unique perspectives, but as the artist suggests, it is bound to fuel their imaginations.
The Friends of the Niles Library are sponsoring a contest to name the new artwork. The contest kicks off on December 1, 2013 and entry forms, available at the Library and online, will ask for the suggested name and an explanation on the choice. The winner will receive an ereader device. All ages of Niles Public Library cardholders are welcome to participate, but only one entry per person will be considered. The contest deadline is January 6. More details will be available in the upcoming Niles Public Library newsletter available at the end of November and on the Library website