Sculpture Walk Springfield welcomes the first international artist
Sculpture Walk Springfield welcomes its first international artist for the public art installation’s 2022-23 season.
Mike Salisbury, a multimedia artist from Guelph – a city in southwestern Ontario, Canada – visited Springfield for a week to install his artwork “Call NOW!” and chat with community members.
“Call now!” is located in Jubilee Park, across North Jefferson Avenue from Druff’s. The sculpture is hard to miss: a phone booth built around a tree in the middle of the park. Or depending on how you look at it, a tree growing inside a phone booth.
The sculpture is the second iteration created by Salisbury. The first, “Local Calls”, is near Guelph in the middle of a forest. A landowner who wanted to protect his property from city development commissioned Salisbury to make the piece, which can only be seen on a hike through the property.
During his artist talk at the Missouri State Department of Art and Design in Brick City on Monday, Salisbury explained that while the two sculptures are similar, their different locations symbolize different meanings.
For Salisbury, “Local Calls” represents technology reclaimed by nature, while “Call NOW!” represents how technology interferes with the natural world.
“We are doing horrible things to the natural environment,” Salisbury said during his speech. in a city park as a pet? This phone booth actually prevents him from growing.
Salisbury encouraged viewers to get closer, as the sculpture contains “easter eggs”, hidden elements or messages.
“(‘Call NOW’) is a call to action for sure,” he said. “It’s only $1.50, or if you read it a little closer…there are little messages hidden in the signage. Maybe it’s act now because it’s only 1, 5 degrees Celsius you have to think about.”
The 1.5 degrees Celsius refers to the 2015 Paris Agreement, an international treaty on climate change. Its goal is to limit global warming to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius.
As for its location, Salisbury said it scoured downtown Springfield using Google Earth. Jubilee Park’s downtown location and available trees were ideal for the sculpture. Once the location was decided, Salisbury sent the deconstructed phone booth to Springfield. Upon his arrival last week, Salisbury was attended by members of Sculpture Walk and sculpture students from Missouri State.
While Salisbury is Sculpture Walk’s first international artist, Sculpture Walk is also Salisbury’s first international exhibition. The collaboration is specific to both entities and actually began a few years ago.
Salisbury said he applied and was accepted into Sculpture Walk before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, border restrictions made it difficult to ship the sculpture and access Springfield itself. As restrictions began to be lifted in Canada and the United States, Salisbury and the Sculpture Walk team began planning for the 2022-23 season.
During his artist talk, community members learned not only about “Local Calls” and “Call NOW!”, but also about Salisbury’s other works, which he described as “anonymous collaborations”. .
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“I think that’s a polite way of saying that people are going to mark (the sculptures) and change them,” he said.
One of Salisbury’s popular sculptures, “Truth Phone”, is located in Toronto’s Graffiti Alley, a four to five block alley for public street art. The sculpture was created to reflect the Canadian government’s responsibility for cultural genocide, Salisbury said.
The sculpture features a telephone booth with four telephones painted in yellow, red, black and white. Salisbury said he was inspired by the indigenous medicine wheel, which points to the four races on the planet. A blank phone book was also featured, which encouraged viewers to “share anything as long as it’s true”.
Salisbury created “Truth Phone” with his own meaning, but he was also interested in seeing how the sculpture would be modified as part of the collaborative outdoor space.
“Everything is subject to change (in Graffiti Alley),” he said. “This piece was also an exploration of how that would be altered by visitors.”
Since its inception in the summer of 2020, “Truth Phone” has been modified with stickers, new graffiti tags, repainted features and more. Salisbury said he enjoys following the sculpture via Instagram, when visitors share photos. Salisbury shares the changes on his Instagram, @mikesalisbury.ca.
Looking to the future, Salisbury said he would be interested in creating more work for the Springfield or Ozarks community, which he described as unique.
“(Springfield) does a fantastic job of promoting art and this idea of using art to improve the quality of life in the community,” he said. “Very few (cities) do it and very few do it well. I’m as happy to be here as they are to have me.”
The first season of Sculpture Walk Springfield kicked off in April 2016 with 13 sculptures installed downtown. This year, Sculpture Walk includes 32 sculptures around downtown, Jordan Valley Park and the Rountree neighborhood. A printable map of the collection can be accessed on the Sculpture Walk website at sculpturewalkspringfield.org/printable-map.