ImaginArt in the Alleys

City of Marion

Funding Received: 2014
Marion, IA
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
September 16, 2016

It’s exciting to see progress being made ABOVE ground in the alleys - the overhead cables and utility poles are now gone, opening up the project site to the sky! Sustainable upgrades have been completed - from new storm water intakes to gas, electrical and communication lines that have been placed underground. Above ground, current building projects include a stage wall and a raised bed, both adjacent to the Iowa Realty building.

The raised bed, referred to as a Rosetta wall, will serve as a functional gateway feature at the 10th Street entrance. The 55’ long seating wall will accommodate pedestrians, including class-sized groups of students. Visitors driving or walking by will see a series of sculptures rising from the space inside the raised bed. Dale Merrill’s project, titled Evoke, includes a group of seven individual large-scale leaf forms. Each is created with contrasting materials that include a weathering Corten steel for the base and stem which transitions into the upper part of the “sprout” created from stainless steel. The rolled leaf element of each sculpture features an internal light source glowing through perforated steel. The organic forms suggest a growing community that stands together and embraces its natural heritage.

Artist Dale J. Merrill began sculpting metal in 1998 and opened Liberty Iron Works in Mount Vernon, Iowa. His current works, include public and private sculpture, residential and commercial architectural installations and custom furniture. While creating both abstract and kinetic art, his installations range from clean and simple forms to complex mechanical details. Recently, much of his work has been using materials such as weathering steel, reclaimed wood and stone in its natural state, preserving the form and finish. Visit his website at: