Metallische Parkbank im Artpark Horb

ARTpark Horb, Horb, Germany.

“Bitte achten Sie auf die Natur und auf die Kunstwerke” means “Please pay attention to nature and to the works of art”. Good advice!

Before I left for Germany, I was in touch with Michael Widmann, Curator of ARTpark Horb, and we discussed the possibility of my creating a work of art for the Park. I told him I was very interested in a project and looked forward to meeting him upon my arrival.

On June 4th, Michael lead Rochyne Delaney McNulty, Hui Huang, and me on a tour of the ARTpark. The heavily wooded hillside Park has sloping green grass, lights, a path, and several park benches.

I wanted to create something very special at ARTpark Horb. But what? The topography of the Park has unique characteristics that must be taken into account for the installation of an art piece – inclines, declines, lines of sight, structural integrity, affordability, and time allowed for creation.

I considered a wide variety of possible Public Art installations for the Park, including ideas for sculptures, mosaics, and paintings. While each idea was interesting and had merit, none of them felt quite right. I wanted to create a work of Art that would fit perfectly in the Park – one that would harmonize with its surroundings, and feel like it truly belongs there. But I couldn’t think of anything that would be such a perfect fit.

I returned to ARTpark Horb many times seeking inspiration. Time was running short, and I knew that I needed to come up with something right away! Frustrated, I sat down on a park bench to think, and that’s when I realized that the answer was right in front of me….er…..below me….I was sitting on it! I would create a Metallic Park Bench!!!

I knew that my idea for a Metallic Park Bench would be perfect for ARTpark Horb! What I didn’t know was if other people would share my vision! I needed to get the project approved by Michael Widmann and Der Bürgermeister – The Mayor. What would they think? Fortunately Michael and Der Bürgermeister are both smart, forward-thinking visionaries, and they were willing to take a chance on some crazy Artist who just traveled 4,000 miles to metallize one of their Park Benches. They approved the project! Yay!

Work in ARTpark Horb began on the afternoon of Monday, July 23rd. My plan was to transform this old wood and stone bench into an eye-catching work of art! 

Work, work, work! I was happy to be getting started!

It was very exciting to see this old wooden bench transformed, little by little, into this stunning Metallic art piece!

One day while I was working an elderly woman walked by, did a double-take, and exclaimed “ICH LIEBE ES!”, which means “I love it!”.  Well that made my day!!!

When I first saw this bench, it looked old. It looked tired. It’s wood was dry and cracked. It looked like every other bench in every other village, and town and city in the world. It was so common, that it was anonymous. You could have walked right by it without ever noticing it. But not anymore. Now it sparkles in the sunshine!

This bench that was once old, and tired, and anonymous, is now one of the best looking benches in Germany! That wouldn’t be possible if the bench wasn’t already beautiful. All I did by covering it, was to uncover it’s beauty….to help people see how beautiful this bench really was all along!

Beauty is in everything, everywhere, all the time, and it’s just waiting to be revealed. When you look at the world like that, the world will become a better place!

On the afternoon of the third day of work, I was hot, tired, and sore. My hands were filled with cuts. The heat was intense, and I started not to feel well. Then I saw this rainbow, and I knew everything would be okay!

Feeling reassured by the appearance of the rainless rainbow, I packed up my stuff and headed to the train station. That’s when I saw this heavenly sight!

Thursday the 26th was the day of the unveiling, and the Bench wasn’t done. I arrived in the morning, had a quick coffee and croissant, and got to work. It was hot out again. I was tired, but there was more that I wanted to do on the Bench….

In the afternoon, it got even hotter. The Bench was closer to being done, so I took a much needed and well deserved break. I went to a nearby Mediterranean Restaurant and had a Margherita Pizza for lunch (YUM!) followed by my new favorite beer – an ice cold Alpirsbacher Klosterbräu. Oh yeah baby!!

As I sat relaxing I noticed a white German kitty staring at me from the window of a Tudor style house. When I went to take its picture, it looked away, of course.

My Metallic Park bench was finally finished! I didn’t sleep the night before so I was exhausted, but ready to meet people at the unveiling! The celebration was to start at 7:00, or as they say here, 19:00.

As I’m waiting around, a little boy shows up, and he’s immediately drawn to the Bench. He’s looking at it, touching it, and then he sits on it. We’re chatting and he tells me that he’s an Artist. I tell him that I am too. He asks what kind of work I do. I say “You’re sitting on it!” His eyes light up. He was my first fan. Turns out he’s the son of one of the musicians who would be playing at the celebration.

Before long it’s 7:00, or 19:00. I couldn’t believe how many people showed up for the unveiling of my Metallic Park Bench! The crowd stretched as far as the eye could see, and they were waving their hands, and shouting “WE LOVE YOU BONNIE!”. Wow! I had no idea my Park Bench would be such a hit! 🙂

And who are THESE lovely people sitting on my Bench? Supermodels? Movie Stars? Maybe. This is Frank Fierke and Monika Golla, the Founders and Directors of the Kunstort ELEVEN Artspace  #kunstortELEVENartspace  Their tireless devotion and passionate support of the Arts cannot be overstated! There are countless works of art in the world – including this Park Bench – that only exist because of their support and encouragement. Thank you Frank and Monika!

My Metallic Park Bench wasn’t the only new installation in ARTpark Horb on Thursday, July 26th. There was also a second new installation by Karin Band, a local Artist well known for her versatile and unique watercolor paintings of landscapes. This is Karin talking with Michael Widmann, the Curator of ARTpark Horb, and a Reporter. Her painting is hanging from the trees, which makes it look like it’s floating in the air!

The Arts & Culture Event was like a Party at the Park – a communal gathering where Artists and Art lovers share food and drink. There was excellent live music by Laszlo Papesch and Lupo, and the drinks were sponsored by high and imnauer prince sources.

Love the pants!

This attractive young woman with the cool tattoos is Ilyn Wong. She’s an Artist from the US, and she’s at Kunstort ELEVEN Artspace  #kunstortELEVENartspace  doing a Residency with Andrew J. Burford, an Artist from England. That’s Andrew in the picture above.

To celebrate the success of my Metallic Park Bench, Andrew and Ilyn and her dog Olive took me to a Beer Garden, or Biergarten – called Der Biergarten Rauschbart. It’s a cozy place nestled high in the hills above Horb, and it has the most spectacular views of the Neckar River Valley! Monika and Frank and Hiroko and Ki Dong joined us later. It’s a good thing Olive was there – she ended up driving us all home later….

Monika told me that you can tell if Der Biergarten is open or not by looking high up on the hill and checking to see if their flag is up and waving. If it is, then the Beer Garden is open. If not, then they are closed.

Der Biergarten Rauschbart has tasty beer and delicious chicken, so let’s hope they’re always open!!

I like this picture! There’s a whole sea of people, but only person is looking at me! That’s Andrew J. Burford, the Artist from England!

As the sun set on this wonderful day, I took this picture of Horb am Neckar with the zoom on my iphone. I couldn’t help but think that somewhere in there – somewhere between the red roofs and hidden below the tree tops, is my Metallic Park Bench! It’s there, getting ready to glow in the moonlight, and then sparkle in the sunshine!

The Metallic Park Bench in ARTpark Horb is the first piece of Public Art that I created in Germany, but I know it won’t be the last! I’m looking forward to more projects in other villages!

There are many new adventures to tell you about!

I’ll keep you posted!


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