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Donations Funding Public Art in Egg Harbor

Permanent public art pieces in Egg Harbor will become greater focal points, and unlike other projects taking place within the village, the improvements will not utilize property tax dollars.

That was the word this month from Egg Harbor Public Arts Initiative (PAI) board member Emily Roedl, and longtime PAI chair Ken Mathys. 

Mathys told the village parks and public works committee on May 1 that the nonprofit PAI has budgeted for a diverse, colorful array of plants for landscaping and new bases to better display two sculptures that are part of the collection within the village.

The PAI has received plans from Door Landscape to surround and create a secluded space for sculptor Patty Degenhardt’s “Universal Mother”, donated to the village in 2017. Mathys said the 5-foot-tall piece uphill from the beach is mounted on a ground-level rectangular base, which sits a couple feet below the level of nearby County Road G, making the abstract statue tough to notice from the road.

Door Landscape provided plans for landscaping to make the art piece “Universal Mother” more of a focal point in the park space uphill from Egg Harbor’s village beach. Submitted.

“It’s really a wonderful piece,” Mathys said. 

Pending village approval, Door Landscape will remove the rectangular base, install a taller, round pedestal to raise the “Universal Mother” sculpture, and then plant a clump of small white birches behind it as well as perennials and shrubbery of varying colors and heights.

Mathys and Roedl said volunteers can help with planting and PAI can seek volunteers to tend to gardens near artworks, Roedl said.

The timeline calls for work to start early this spring. 

Village President John Heller on May 8 said he believes the village will need the volunteers to make good on such a promise to help with gardening, long-term. Village Trustee Cambria Mueller said she would not want to see the PAI organization disappear or volunteerism decline, with the garden-tending duties falling upon the village maintenance crews.

The village board approved the proposal Wednesday, emphasizing that PAI needed to help with maintenance.

Mathys said the PAI raised funds for the project from fundraisers such as the EGGstravaganza, which takes place again in 2025. Mathys said EGGstravaganza provides a big boost to the arts and raised more than $92,000 in 2019. The PAI donates funds to the village and recommends purchases using the funds.

Funds from the PAI also will be used for landscaping near the tall, rusted-metal “Single Dancer Age 14” at the north end of the Bird Trail that parallels the south edge of Horseshoe Bay Road (Cty G) to the beach. Mathys said the landscaping changes are designed to make the sculpture more visible for people walking the trail.

Leaders of the nonprofit Public Arts Initiative in Egg Harbor are asking the village board to allow them to fund new landscaping and better pedestals to surround and make sculptures into more prominent focal points. Submitted.

The PAI’s fundraising efforts also covered costs of the installation of new, colorful tiles to replace some that fell off “Sunset Melody”, an art piece by Kathleen Mand Beck, Cynthia Board, Angela Lensch and Renee Schwaller that adorns a wall near the entrance to the Peg Egan Performing Arts Center on Church Street.

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