Stop 5. College Square Sculptures
Berea is synonymous with handmade crafts, so when the Berea Arts Council undertook a public art project in 2003, they decided that a “Show of Hands” would be an appropriate representation of the community. Carroll Hale, an art professor at Eastern Kentucky University, designed the 6-foot tall model for the sculpture, which was then cast in fiberglass by Phoenix Boats in Berea. Twelve hands were cast, and the Arts Council put out a request for artists to submit designs to paint them. A jurying process narrowed the field from the hundred + designs that were submitted, and then local businesses, non-profits, and individuals selected the designs they wanted to sponsor. Although the original plan was that the hands would be a temporary exhibit, they are so popular with local folks and visitors alike that most of them remain on public display. A group of three are clustered in College Square.
Along with the hands, College Square boasts two metal sculptures: a life-sized buffalo and an even larger griffin. Created by local blacksmith and metal artist, Bob Montgomery, the sculptures are feats of engineering as well as artistry. Montgomery does not cover the armatures of his sculptures. To him, armatures are more than a skeleton to be covered. He sees them as active energy fields, inviting people – particularly children – to interact with them. He often takes his sculpture to area schools or festivals, where students use their own creativity to decorate them. Berea College purchased these two for permanent exhibit.