COUNCIL BLUFFS — One looks like a tall brick maze where kids can run through and play hide and seek. Another is a transparent rendering of a boy's face.
Each is a sign proclaiming the name of a park, two of the selected entries for six Council Bluffs parks that were approved Wednesday by the City's Public Art Commission.
The signs, each created by an area artist, were developed with public input in recent months and overseen by Omaha art curator Joel Damon.
With funding from the Iowa West Foundation, city parks officials held a series of meetings to seek input on the replacement of entry signs for Big Lake, Cochran, Kirn, Roberts, Sternhill and Westwood Parks. Damon then assigned three artists for each park to develop an art piece from the public input and from other informational sources. A second series of meetings was held to allow the public to select their favorite pieces.
“In the end, my preferences lined up with what the neighborhoods wanted,” Damon told the commission.
At Big Lake Park, the selected art spells out the park's name with the letters stacked on top of each other. The “i” in “Big” is shaped like a fish that is common to the lake. The piece is made of cast bronze that looks like old, weathered wood. It was created by Charley Friedman.
At Cochran, the piece features four steel walls with holes in them spelling out “Cochran.” When looking at it straight on, it appears the sign is a long continuous wall; actually the walls are separate and set apart from each other. Benches complement the look. It was created by Min/Day.
At Kirn, the entry sign is a classic design with white hexagon tiles on poured concrete. The words “Kirn Park” are spelled out in dark tiles representing what appeared on the walls of homes and offices in the neighborhood a century ago, Damon said. It was created by Sean Ward.
The piece selected for Roberts Park features a see-through face of a boy saying “Roberts Park.” It's made of steel sheeting, Damon said. A similar sign featuring a young girl's face will be used at another entry to the park. It was created by Michael Beitz.
At Sternhill, the entry sign is made of curved brick and mortar that rises 9 feet in spots and spells out the word “Play.” Openings through the sign allow people to walk through and maybe play hide and seek. It was created by Jason Manley.
The sign for Westwood features concrete pavers with a cross-section steel wall featuring the name of the park. It was created by Andrew Conzett and Ryan Fisher.