It's a metaphor for York, the artist explained. New things are happening in a place with a long, sometimes painful, history.
“These things are all worn out,” Joshua Seitzer said, referring to the scrap metal he fashioned together to create the cleverly named Power Plant. “Through this mechanism grows new life.”
Seitzer's metaphor works particularly well on North George Street, where the Power Plant and nine other pieces of original street art are newly bolted to the sidewalk.
Art unveiled: The artworks' unveiling Friday drew more than 50 people and marked the completion of a project spearheaded by downtown merchants to spruce up North George Street in the hope of drawing pedestrians to the area and benefiting the businesses there.
Among the creations is a larger-than-life cat made from horseshoes, a 1,500-pound machine turned unusually upright, and a bronze statue of the Tin Man. Keep an eye out for “the Birds,” colorful but smaller pieces artist Robert Machovec said he'll continue to build.
“Hopefully there will be some more popping up here and there,” he told the crowd Friday as they stood below one bird permanently chirping at the intersection of North George and Philadelphia streets.
Downtown merchants and an anonymous donor teamed up to commission local artists for the aesthetic makeover.
Over the summer, construction crews also installed new sidewalk curbs and crosswalks at intersections between North Street and Continental Square.
Spreading: Project coordinators are hoping the street improvements and eye-catching art will do for North George Street what similar upgrades did for Beaver Street around the corner. There, functional art pieces — like trash cans and benches — helped cement the block's status as a York City shopping destination.
On North George Street, each of the 10 artistic creations was built |with materials that originated somewhere in York County's industrial and manufacturing past.
Newly branded the “Industrial Arts Capital of the World,” York is “still a manufacturing town,” said Patrick Sells, an artist who worked on the Beaver Street project.
“This is an idea we hope kind of grows on York and continues to go block by block,” Sells said.
Mosaic artist Mary Cantrell Tellez of Spring Garden Township said she was inspired by York's architecture to design the three-piece structure that now sits at the corner at North George and North streets. Cantrell Tellez said she spent two months building the Three Pipe Mosaic from materials found in York County quarries.
“As I was working, I was thinking about this stretch of George Street,” she said. “We just have amazing architecture in this city.”
— Erin James may also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.