SculptureTour Hits Downtown With New Inspiration

The 2024 Salina Downtown Sculpture tour kicked off with a bustling crowd and snacks to go around on Saturday. Spectators got to snack on popcorn as they participated in this year’s sculpture tour. 

The 20 new sculptures which were unveiled showed a new range of creativity and variation. The sculptures range from very realistic, an assortment of abstract, and some minimalist.

“Something New for Otto” is the name of one of the new sculptures unveiled downtown Salina created by James Bryant. It features an octopus reaching up to explore a sunken anchor.

 “I was going to do something more steampunk themed and add goggles to the octopus, but once I started sculpting it it started to form a more realistic look to him. So I took it in this more refined direction.” Bryant said.  Bryant is from Herington and entered the sculpture tour after he began to branch out and do larger sculptures. 

“Plum Crazy” is another featured piece created by returning artist Robert Peck. It features a “plum crazy purple” figure running. Inspired by the marathon runners that run up and down Sante Fe, the piece is made of iron square tubing and is painted in various parts.

 “I thought the runners were just plum crazy for running 26 miles so that gave me the idea, I painted the figure a Dodge Charger plum crazy purple in tribute to them.” Peck says. 

 “I started in high school doing metal work, and have not returned to it since I retired recently 6 years ago. A friend of mine inspired me to get back into it and to enter the sculpture tour downtown, Which is where I’ve successfully featured a few of my pieces.” 

While taking the tour, you can vote for the “People’s Choice” favorite. SculptureTour Salina ballots can be found downtown near the crosswalks and deposited in one of the marked ballot boxes. Voting closes December 31, 2024.

Previous People’s Choice Award winners include:

2011 – “Watch Dog” by Louise Peterson; On display in Oakdale Park Sculpture Garden

2012 – “Sweet Kisses” by Marianne Caroselli; On display in Oakdale Park Sculpture Garden

2013 – “Farmer” by Lawrence Starck; On display in Campbell Plaza, Downtown

2014 – “Next Up” by James Haire; To go on display at the Oakdale Park Tennis Courts

2015 – ““Daughters of Peace” by Benjamin Victor; on display inside the Salina City / County Building

2016 – “Slim” by Dale Lewis; on display at the Tony’s Pizza Events Center

2017 – “Picasso’s Violin” by Jodie Bliss; on display outside the Salina Innovation Foundation

2018 – “Patches” by Dale Lewis; on display outside of the Smoky Hill Museum

2019 – “Wheat Harvest” by James Mages

2020 – “For the Love of Steel” by Sunny Corbett

2021 – “Butterfly Tree” by Reven Marie Swanson

2022 – “Clarence the Catfish” by Joe and Terry Malesky

2023- Mr Hatters pursuits in becoming human 004 “golden sphere” 

“The fact that a private group is doing something like this, that’s the sign of a healthy community,” says Arts and humanities executive director Brad Anderson. “When a private sector organizes and coordinates an event of this stature and all the city has to do is buy the peoples favorite, the delegation of the event becomes much easier…I remember when we use to think that having 3 or 4 cars parked up and down Sante Fe was an accomplishment, now we can barely find any parking! That to me is a great accomplishment.”

Other than purchasing the People’s Choice winner, SculptureTour Salina is entirely privately funded. Multiple sculptures are temporarily displayed in the downtown area for just a year.

Each sculpture is for sale, with the City of Salina purchasing the People’s Choice winner for permanent display.

Private businesses have a history of purchasing some of the sculptures and placing them where the public can continue to enjoy the works.

“Salina prides itself, at least in reputation, as an artistic community. It’s pretty vibrant, and it’s available.” says local Salinan David Norlin “By encouraging artists to come in and show their work, while featuring local artists along with them, you get a cross fertilization of ideas that helps cultivate and stimulate engagement in the community. Overall I think it’s a great feature of downtown”