At the Dublin Community Recreation Center, people stop to admire artist Michael Tizzano’s work as he focuses on recreating a part of the City’s history.
Tizzano has been commissioned to capture, in bronze and stone, the town pump that stood at the intersection of Bridge and High streets in the early 1900s. When completed, the sculpture will be installed on the lower plaza at the northwest corner of BriHi Square, not far from where the original town pump stood.
Tizzano, of Westerville, also sculpted The Chase at the Westerville Sports Complex and participated in the exhibition New Building, New Work at the McConnell Arts Center in 2010.
Dublin residents and visitors can watch the artwork being created in full public view just outside the lobby of the Abbey Theater, where Tizzano can take advantage of the natural light from the skylights above. He encourages audience interaction while he works, inviting questions and explaining his process as the artwork develops.
“People can touch and ask questions,” Tizzano says, and he has found that they have stories of their own to share. One Dublin resident remembered using the town pump to get water back in the days of horse-drawn wagons.
The finished sculpture will be the latest addition to the Art in Public Places program, a collaboration between the City of Dublin and Dublin Arts Council.
“The process offers a unique opportunity for the community to observe the creation of public art,” says Dublin City Council Member John Reiner, board representative to Dublin Arts Council. “The art itself represents a snapshot of Dublin’s history being recreated in the present, and preserved for the community to enjoy now and into the future.”
The project offers a host of educational opportunities for the community, which will be coordinated by Dublin Arts Council. The Dublin Historical Society also is a partner in the project and is collecting artifacts from the time period for display. It was the historical society that first proposed the idea of commemorating the town pump.
At a Dublin City Council meeting in January 2008, while plans were being developed for the BriHi Square project, former Dublin resident and Dublin Historical Society member Carl Karrer shared the history of the original Dublin village pump, describing how it was a landmark and a gathering place for the village and for those who traveled to Dublin. With automobiles replacing horses, it became necessary to build a cement barricade to prevent cars from running into the pump. Karrer’s research uncovered a newspaper article from May 21, 1925, which noted: “Ohio Department of Highways ruled the town pump of Dublin, O., had to be removed from the center of the village’s main intersection. The pump, there for 30 years, lifted water from a well 78 feet deep, the first drilled in Dublin.”
Tizzano’s commemoration will include bronze, natural limestone and running water to encourage visitors to experience Dublin’s past in a personal way through the representation of children in period dress engaged in the daily ritual of collecting water.
Tizzano’s process begins with the creation of a one-quarter-scale clay maquette using local children as models for the sculpture. Mackenzie Mescher, a seventh-grader at St. Brigid of Kildare School, posed for the model of the girl, while Deer Run Elementary School fourth-grader Austin Wagner and kindergartners Colin Hoffman and Trenton Allen are being used as a composite for the figure of the boy.
From the small-scale maquette, life-sized figures will be created. When the artist is not present, the sculpture, tools and materials will be placed behind a glassed-in area for continued viewing at the recreation center. The sculpture’s casting will take place at an Ohio foundry.
Tizzano estimates the sculpture will be installed in the plaza this fall. For updated project information and a schedule of when the artist will be sculpting live at the DCRC, please visit www.DublinOhioUSA.gov.