ImaginArt in the Alleys

City of Marion

Funding Received: 2014
Marion, IA
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
April 5, 2017

Dale Merrill’s series of 7 dramatic steel sculptures, which tower like giant sprouts growing in a raised bed, were installed in late March. The artist and his crew made several trips between Uptown Marion and Dale’s Mount Vernon studio, Liberty Ironworks, in order to assemble the various components on site. The gray “stems” are made from CorTen steel and will develop a rusty-colored patina over time. Each leaf form is made from stainless steel, and colored LED lights glow through the perforated steel sections of each leaf. The photo below was taken when the artist was still testing the electrical connections. By the second night, all the leaves were not only lit, but slowly changing colors. What a dramatic display!

The title, Evoke, is meant to engage viewers in the meaning or symbolism of the artwork. The sprouts remind me of the many students that graced my life throughout my career as an art teacher in the Linn-Mar and Marion schools. To the artist, it suggests our natural heritage, new growth, and individuals standing together as a community. The materials and theme are reminiscent of the immense sculpture, titled Yield, that Dale Merrill created for the City of Marion’s first roundabout on 35th Street and Tower Terrace Road. That sculpture uses a distinct agrarian theme in the form of stylized corn stalks made of rusting CorTen, with glittering stainless steel tassels. Both of these projects help to create a meaningful sense of place here in our community.