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Mayor's Office Heading City Letter Head

May 6, 2002
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Liz Shea-McCoy, Lincoln Arts Council, 890-1022
Jessica Kennedy, Tour de Lincoln Marketing Chair, 472-2461

Mayor Announces Major Public Art Project
"Tour de Lincoln" expected to raise $200,000 for charity and the arts

Mayor Don Wesely and the Lincoln Arts Council (LAC) announced today the beginning of a new public art community project called "Tour de Lincoln." Area artists will start with a steel sculpture of a bicycle and will add their own unique touches to the pieces, which will be displayed throughout the community. The project will also raise an estimated $200,000 for charity, local artists and the LAC.

"Other communities have conducted similar projects using cows, ponies, pigs and, in Omaha, the J. Doe human forms," said Mayor Wesely. "Lincoln will be the first to use an object instead of a living form, and the bicycle was selected to celebrate our city trail system, one of the best in the nation. This is an outstanding way to take art to the public and to raise money for worthwhile causes in our community."

The bikes were designed by LAC board member Laurel Shoemaker, a designer at Berggren & Woll, Architects. Midwest Steel Works, Inc. of Lincoln will cut and weld the steel bikes. Anchored on a concrete base, each bike will be more than four feet tall, seven feet long and weigh more than 385 pounds.

"Having the opportunity to design the bicycle for the Tour de Lincoln project was very exciting," said Shoemaker. "By using steel, we will be creating permanent pieces of art. This project is one more way the Lincoln Arts Council serves the citizens of Lincoln, and I encourage all Lincolnites to join the Tour!"

Beginning next week, a notice will be sent to local and regional artists, encouraging participation in the project. Artists will develop designs over the summer, and the judging of submissions will take place in mid-August. During the fall of 2002, the Arts Council will host parties at which businesses and individuals can make contributions to sponsor one of the 50 selected designs. The chosen artists will have their sculptures ready for display at sponsor locations during the summer of 2003, and Lincolnites will be encouraged to travel around Lincoln by car, foot or bike to view the sculptures at sponsor locations.

The final phase in the project is a major public auction in the fall of 2003. For each bike sold, the proceeds will be split equally by the artist, the buyer's chosen charity and the LAC. Organizers expect the bikes to be sold for about $5,000.

"Our hope is that some of the patrons who purchase the bike sculptures will donate them to the Parks and Recreation Foundation for placement along our trails," said Lynn Johnson, Lincoln Parks and Recreation Director. "In this way, the general public can continue to enjoy these art works for many years." Deb Weber, LAC Executive Director, said Tour de Lincoln fits well with the mission of the Arts Council to serve as an advocate for the arts, encourage community cultural development, and promote Lincoln area artists.

For more information on the project, call the Tour De Lincoln hotline at 890-1022.

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