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Artist Pitts Brings Suggestion of Motion to Memorial Field

Two sculptures are up, with a third on the way

Two new sculptures have appeared at Memorial Field, with a third on the way, thanks to the Mayor's Partnership for Summit Arts, also known as Public Arts/Summit and New York City-based artist Richard Pitts.

"We're creating an interesting experience for the people of Summit and impacting the way the region views Summit," said Public Arts co-chair Michael Tcheyan.

All three sculptures are metal; the silver piece, "Conestoga," is made of aircraft aluminum, as is the forthcoming third piece. The painted "Silo" is pickled-in-oil steel. Each piece takes Pitts about a month to create, but he says the planning and sketching phases take longer. Pitts and Public Arts Summit decided on the specific pieces together, once they got city approval to install art at Memorial Field. According to Pitts, there was originally supposed to be just one sculpture, but they decided the space needed more than one.

"These three pieces seem to spread out the most, and I thought that the space needed that specific dynamic," he said.

All three pieces have more in common than just material and creator; they also have a common motif.

"They're interrelated in that they make for a dynamic of space," Pitts said. "They infer motion and movements; they create space around them and infer motion."

Public Arts Summit is a group of 20 volunteers appointed by the mayor, along with a subcommittee and advisors. Volunteers Deborah Schwarzmann and John Romanowski were instrumental in bringing Pitts's work to Summit. It receives no taxpayer money and relies entirely on private donations. The committee has installed more than 30 pieces of artwork around Summit since 2004, and there are currently 10 pieces displayed, with Pitts's third and a piece by Max Pelzman coming soon.

"They're all very serious, talented, high-quality artists," Tcheyan said. "We're lucky they want to show here…there's starting to be a buzz about Summit as a venue."

In addition to bringing in new artists, the partnership is also seeking to involve residents. To that end, it is working to develop an art walk, where people can move from piece to piece in an orderly fashion to see what is currently being displayed. The committee believes it could be a way for the diverse people of Summit to find some common ground.

"Art brings people together," said Mary Kooi, volunteer public relations liaison.

As for what the sculptures actually are, what they're supposed to represent: they're suggestions.

"These sculptures are about stimulating something more complete, but that's up to the viewer," Pitts said. "It's all about a kind of freedom of interpretation. The viewer has to come in…and fill in (the rest) with his own imagination."

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