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Fred Wilson: I’m willing to re-site Indy project

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For the first time, artist Fred Wilson has said that he is willing to re-site E Pluribus Unum, a site-specific sculpture he has proposed for downtown Indianapolis.

Wilson designed the artwork, which was commissioned by the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, for a plaza in front of the Indianapolis City-County Building. This summer, the Central Indiana Community Foundation, which is the project’s lead funder, and Indianapolis mayor Greg Ballard announced that they would no longer support citing the sculpture there and the project entered several months of limbo. In the immediate wake of that decision, Wilson told MAN he was unsure of whether he was willing to move forward with the project at another site. Now he is.

“I thought I had walked around the Cultural Trail and picked the best site,” Wilson told me in a phone call today. “The [original] site seemed to be perfect for many reasons, but I’m certainly flexible around siting it because I think that getting the sculpture up is the best way to keep the dialogue going around the issues I’m interested in. Indianapolis seems to be fertile territory. So yes, I am open. I will have an opinion if I think there’s a site that I think is not going to be good for the sculpture, but I think that ideas will be bounced around about where might be appropriate or might work is not a bad thing. It is going to be in their city, so yes, I am interested in keeping my artistic opinions and needs on the table as they look at sites.”

Wilson’s made public his decision just after the Central Indiana Community Foundation announced that it would hold a series of much-delayed public meetings about Wilson’s proposed sculpture. CICF first announced that it would hold these meetings last November, but in the 11 months since no meetings have been held. The original purpose of the public forums was to  foster dialogue about the Wilson project in an attempt to build community consensus around it. The project has met with opposition from what seems to be a small but vocal group.

CICF’s first public meeting will take place on October 8. A full schedule of the forums and list of meeting places is available here.

Wilson said that he spoke to CICF president Brian Payne about a week ago and effectively green-lighted continuation of the process, but that he will not attend the public forums.

“From the beginning I was not going to be a part of those community meetings because I did a whole lot of talking about the project for plenty of years,” Wilson said. “They have lots of footage of me if they need it. For me it’s really at the point where I’ve done the work. They have to grapple with it at this point. I’m very pleased that it’s going to be back on track. A lot of time went by, which didn’t help, but it’s back on track. That’s a good thing.”

Related: MAN’s complete coverage of the Wilson project is available here.

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  1. [...] case you missed it late Friday afternoon: For the first time, Fred Wilson says he’s willing to re-site his proposed Indianapolis sculpture E Pluribus [...]

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