About four years ago, when this journey began, there were few who knew who Robert Indiana is, never mind the fact that he was born here in New Castle, Indiana. In our small town of 18,000 people, all to be shown to honor this artist was a 6″ by 6″ representation of LOVE in the middle of a 20-foot mural in the historic Henry County Courthouse.
Now, I write this post as a magnificent 8′ by 8′ LOVE sculpture sits in front of the progressing armory building, at the corner of Grand Avenue and South 15th Street (honorarily named Robert Indiana Parkway).
This beautiful sculpture has deep meaning. Not only did its original creator take his first breath of life in this community, but this particular sculpture was fabricated by community students. I’m not sure they fully understand the magnitude of their work. I’m excited for them to see the community pride that their project provides grow over the coming years.
Undoubtedly, this would not have been possible without the great welding instructing at the New Castle Career Center from their teacher, Steven Vitatoe, who not only taught them skills, but lessons in using them to give back to the community. Carrie Barrett, director of New Castle Main Street, teamed up with Mr. Vitatoe to plan and provide for the project. Mrs. Barrett has continued to push for the Robert Indiana Arts & Culture District, which is a great honor to Indiana’s legacy, and also will be instrumental in the continued progress and development of the New Castle community. They both have worked tirelessly to bring our town something to be proud of and represent our dreams.
The legacy of Robert Indiana is growing into what it should’ve been 60-some years ago. My HOPE is that he feels the LOVE his “long ago hometown” has for him.
For more pictures of the installation, click here.