ImaginArt in the Alleys

City of Marion

Funding Received: 2014
Marion, IA
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
October 17, 2016

During the alley project’s visioning process, many community members requested plant material, seating and artwork inspired by nature. So a few benches and planters with seasonal greenery will be scattered throughout the project site. While real trees would be problematic in a tight space like ours, Marion’s Artist Selection Panel found a sculptor to create a beautiful tree-like sculpture.

The title, Alley Blome, is derived from the Norwegian definition of “a flower,” along with the English definition as “a lump of metal,” making it the perfect title for this sculpture. The aim of this abstract steel form is to impart the calming effect of a majestic tree along with the excitement of an exploding firework. The towering tree-like sculpture helps to create a somewhat hidden oasis where one can sit to reflect, take a break, and enjoy the moment. The theme of Alley Blome references the Marion community’s appreciation of trees, and its designation as “Tree City USA.”

Jake Balcom is a master metalworker who received degrees in Science and Welding Tech before opening a shop specializing in custom architectural metal work. His award-winning designs are held in a dozen public outdoor spaces and over 70 private collections. Jake now resides in Kansas City, MO where his primary focus is outdoor public art installations and large-scale chandeliers.