FRIDAY, July 29 — Last week, REO Town’s REACH Studio Art Center announced Ivan Iler as the artist who will create a 70-foot sculpture/entryway as part of the studio’s “SenseFence” Sense of Place project.
“I really like Ivan because his favorite thing to do is use scrap metal or repurposed metal and to make his sculptures interactive, and that fit exactly with what we were looking for,” said Alice Brinkman, executive director of REACH Studio Art Center.To create the arch-entryway, Iler will be working with Friedland Industries, the company donating the scrap metal he is using to create the sculpture.
“[The sculpture] is going to have their logo coming up over the top of the archway, at least one windmill type feature integrated into it, some kinetic interactive features the kids can play with, a chain you can pull on, and things like that,” Iler said.
The SenseFence will be installed along the public alley behind the building. The sculpture is expected to be ready for final installation no later than August 30, and the studio hopes to have an unveiling celebration in late September. REACH plans to eventually extend the fence along the whole alleyway.
“We thought to have a fence there — not to keep people out but to protect the courtyard and the people in it,” Brinkman said. “We wanted to create a fence that was welcoming and interesting, and we thought it would be fun to create a fence of interactive sculptures that would engage the neighborhood and REACH participants’ interactions,” Brinkman said.
Iler is part-owner and operator of Hammer in Hand Custom Cycles, as well as a former ScrapFest winner. He has created public art sculptures in Grand Ledge and St. Johns as part of the Lansing Economic Area Partnership-funded Public Art of Communities grant program. He hopes the SenseFence sculpture will give aspiring artists a chance to see what artists are capable of.
“At the end of the day, I really hope it gives kids something they can look at and think, ‘Somebody made this,’” he said. “Hopefully it’ll inspire the kids.”
The sculpture is a small part of REACH’s ongoing renovation project. About three years ago, the studio purchased the South Washington Avenue building they had been renting for 10 years, 1804 S. Washington Ave., as well as all of the commercial storefronts adjacent to it. While creating more space for offices and classes, the project has transformed a rundown block at the south end of REO Town into a creative hub.
“The neighborhood was kind of a mess,” Brinkman said. “The buildings that we’re redeveloping were pretty rundown, empty spaces. I think when you take a rundown area like that and improve it, that gets people to have some ownership of their neighborhood. I think that this sculpture piece will only add to the momentum of people seeing that this is a corner of Lansing worth paying attention to.”