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Did You See 'A Really Big Guitar' Downtown?

Public art pops up in Royal Oak.

“A Really Big Guitar” by Brian Brook is located on the corner of Fourth and Main in Royal Oak. Credit: City of Royal Oak
“A Really Big Guitar” by Brian Brook is located on the corner of Fourth and Main in Royal Oak. Credit: City of Royal Oak

Public art is popping up in Downtown Royal Oak as a new public art program called Art Explored makes its first appearance. Works by Michigan artists Brian Brook, Richard Gage, and Todd Stovall are being featured in this year’s program.

Art Explored is a program of the Royal Oak Commission for the Arts (ROCFA), sponsored by the Arts, Beats, and Eats Foundation. Artists are chosen by ROCFA to have their work displayed in downtown Royal Oak for up to a year. If the pieces are sold while on display, ROCFA receives a 25 percent commission on the work to support the future of the program.

'A Really Big Guitar'

The first work installed was “A Really Big Guitar” by Brian Brook. Located on the corner of Fourth and Main, “the guitar reflects the already established cultural scene in Royal Oak and hopefully helps to expand it,” said Brook. The guitar is strategically located near where buskers can often be seen playing for passers-by. Brook’s pieces are typically constructed from unusual pieces of industrial metal, often recovered from city scrap yards. Brook works to give old metal a new life through his art.

'Petal Parts'

Richard Gage’s “Petal Parts” is installed on the north side of the Royal Oak Public Library. Gage’s work is meant to align a viewer with nature and the natural world while bringing understanding to the mechanics and limits of technique. “Petal Parts” is a 10-foot tall sculpture that combines the ideas of the natural beauty of Royal Oak which can be seen in the City’s more than 50 parks, and the industrial culture that is permanently and intricately embedded in the culture of the metro Detroit area.

'Finite Sculpture Series'

“Finite Sculpture Series” by Todd “Quaint Self” Stovall will soon be seen hanging in a tree on the corner of 3rd and Main.   Stovall is an electronica-making visual artist who constructs geometric shapes and patterns with a minimalist design style. The 2012 Wayne State prize winner for community-based art uses principles of electrical engineering and functional design in his works.  He has created work for the Heidelberg Project and DLECTRICITY.

ROCFA was formed in January 2012 by the City of Royal Oak to encourage and support arts and culture in the City. ROCFA helped coordinate the DIA Inside/Out Installation in the summer of 2012, created Art Explored “Live” a summer concert series that was held this summer on the Royal Oak Library Lawn, and is now introducing Art Explored. More programs to support the arts and artists in Royal Oak are in the making.

Source: City of Royal Oak 

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