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Barrett presented with check for public sculpture

  • Molly Barrett talks with art patrons at the spot where her sculpture, “History in Shapes,” will be erected. (Press photo James Grob.)

  • CCAC Director Jacqueline Davidson gives a presentation Monday for Molly Barrett, whose sculpture, “History in Shapes,” will is expected to be erected in the coming weeks. (Press photo James Grob.)

  • Art Strong, Susan Strong, Mark Wicks, Vonnie Kruckenberg, Molly Barrett and Jacqueline Davidson were on hand as a check was presented Monday to Molly Barrett for her sculpture. (Press photo James Grob.)

  • Molly Barrett stands next to a model of her sculpture, “History in Shapes,” during a fundraising event in July. (Press file photo James Grob.)

  • A model of Molly Barrett’s sculpture, “History in Shapes,” which is expected to be erected in Charles City in the coming weeks. (Press file photo James Grob.)

By James Grob,

The city of Charles City could be just a couple months away from having another piece of public fine art on display.

Sculptor Molly Barrett was presented with a check on Monday, which was the balance of money commissioned to her to build her newest creation, a metal sculpture entitled “History in Shapes.”

The check presented to Barrett on Monday was for $4,500, which was the amount that remained on the $9,000 sculpture. All funds came from the community over the last few months. The Charles City Public Art Committee of Community Revitalization helped to fundraise for Barrett’s artwork.

“I’m speechless,” said Barrett, a Charles City native who now lives in the Twin Cities. “It blows me away that a town the size of Charles City, Iowa, has such a huge affinity toward public art.”

The sculpture, slated to be 13 to 15 feet high, will be erected near the Court Street end of the Main Street Bridge, next to the parking lot there and across the street from the Floyd County Courthouse.

“I cannot get over the fact that we have grown up with parents and leaders in this community who have put art as a priority in this town of about 7,000 people,” Barrett had said when the fundraising was launched. “If every city was as interested in art, per capita, as Charles City is, I think it would be a much calmer world to live in.”

Barrett said she grew up across the street from longtime Charles City art teacher Art Strong, who she called “one of her biggest inspirations.” Strong and his wife, Susan, attended the check presentation on Monday.

Barrett is the daughter of Dan and Sarah Barrett, who moved to Charles City in 1973. A 1985 CCHS grad, she attended the University of Iowa and studied art. She has lived and worked in Boston and Los Angeles, then moved to Minnesota with her husband. She’s been in the Twin Cities for 20 years.

“It’s going to be an exciting challenge,” she said of her “History in Shapes” project. “I hope that when people drive past, or come up and look at it, that every single person can see or feel something in it that is from Charles City.”

Barrett said she has all the material ready, the base is already made, and she’s looking forward to getting the sculpture erected before the ground is frozen. She hopes that means the project will be completed “in the next couple of months.”

Charles City Art Center Director Jacqueline Davidson presented the check to Barrett. She said that Charles City has always has a “heartfelt love” for the arts, and has supported the arts and the people and entities who represent the arts.

“This is why we have a remarkable arts council, that stands for the creative substance of this city, county and state,” Davidson said. “With this in mind, we are honored to bestow this check to Molly for her art and creativity.”

Barrett said she still has vivid images of her hometown in her mind. The proposed public art piece would capture those images for all to see, remember and celebrate.

“There are so many aspects, and so for people to look at it and come up with their own is probably the most exciting thing to me,” Barrett said.