Every year, inBronze and The Fields Project award a sculptor the chance to create a sculpture for permanent installation in a prominent location. The goal is place 10 sculptures in 10 years. Last year David Seagraves won and his idea, now a finished a clay model of the 5 ½ foot tall sculpture to be cast in bronze by August or September, is considered to be a perfect fit for the Ogle County Judicial Center.
Seagraves’ depicts a beautiful sinewy woman, hair pulled back, seeds cradled in the concave bend in her dress, she is bending over to scatter across the landscape below tiny homes and buildings instead of seeds. He calls it “Demeter Over Illinois”.
Pastor Kent Svendsen calls it a direct defilement of the Ten Commandments. The county board voted to call it “Agriculture, Mother of Civilization”.
RR Star Article - …“With a name like “Demeter,” the sculpture’s meaning could be misunderstood as an advocation of idol worship or polytheism, said Svendsen, who circulated a petition to stop the board from accepting the sculpture. The petition garnered 17 signatures, mostly from area ministers, County Board chairman Betty Gocken said.”
“More than that, said board member Thomas Scholl, the statue doesn’t accurately depict Ogle County’s agriculture. A more appropriate representation might be a John Deere plow, Scholl said.”…
…“Several board members tried to kill the sculpture’s installation at the judicial center after the board voted to accept it as a donation from The Fields Project, a local artists group”…
This is a true story that is happening in a county where the respect of free speech is so great, that just this week an Aryan Nation Rally was announced causing the cancellation of a very good friends’ Girl Scout event.
RR Star Article - “A Freeport-based Aryan Nations group plans to rally Saturday in front of the Ogle County Courthouse in what the organization’s leaders are calling a nonviolent “voice of opinion about current immigration laws.””
So, if I’m getting this straight, Oregon County board members think that skinheads with free speech is a necessary evil to a free society but an artist naming his OWN sculpture by inferring a Greek myth is an abomination? What do the Ten Commandments have to do with how tax payer money is spent? Do they really just want to park someone’s old tractor in front of their judicial building? Is it really 2006?
Alas, none of the board members appear to be assessable via e-mail. So instead I offer the Ogle County Board Chair Betty Gocken phone number 815-732-3201 or easier yet, dear Bloggies, drop her an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell her that her board members actions and opinions reveal their true ignorance. Maybe if they get more than 17 e-mails they'll change their tune. Pick a topic that’s important to you, may I suggest:
-Freedom of speech
-The danger in legislators being cowed by the church
-Importance of recognizing art and culture in society
-The things legislators waste their time arguing about
-Gratitude and graciousness
Or how about
-I vote we call the Mona Lisa - Mother Mary
-Just park a tractor in the yard then
-No art, no growth, no brains
-Hitler hot, Zeus not
-Ignorance, not just for bigots anymore
Demeter Over Illinois by David Seagraves
Photo from ALAN LEÓN at RRStar