By Dan Spalding
WARSAW – Downtown Warsaw’s first permanent piece of public art was quietly erected last week.
The sculpture by John Mishler, Goshen, was installed without ceremony on Friday, May 22, outside of Warsaw City Hall in an area known as the City Plaza.
Cost of the sculpture was paid with private money from donors who made contributions as a tribute to Mary Ellen Rudisel-Jordan, who died in a car crash in 2013 and was a well-known architect who influenced the design of numerous modern downtown buildings, said Suzie Light, who recently retired as executive director of the Kosciusko County Community Foundation and is chairperson of the Warsaw Public Arts Commission.
Rudisel-Jordan designed the revamped city hall, which used to be a bank building, as well as the Community Foundation office a block away that was formerly the home of the old Kline’s store.
“She had such a gift of understanding how people used things that made her excellent at the work she did. If you look around town, First United Methodist Church, the Warsaw Library, many, many non-profits were blessed by the work she did,” Light said.
The artwork is located in the northeast corner of the parking lot next to City Hall and close to Center Street.
Rudisel-Jordan always envisioned some kind of public art in that corner of the plaza, Light said
The artwork features two blue and silver aluminum pieces and a third one that is gently bent in a way similar to the design of door handles used on the exterior of the city hall entrance.
The artwork is topped off with two kinetic elements that are wind-driven and spin randomly.
Mishler, who also has a sculpture in Central Park, said the project had been under discussion for about four years.
The Arts Commission had scheduled the installation in March, “but then COVID-19 happened,” Light said.
A donor recognition event will be scheduled in the future, she said, and the name of the sculpture will be unveiled at that time.
“It has a really cool name and that is exactly what Mary Ellen would have picked for it,” Light said.
The Arts Commission was established a few years ago with the support of Mayor Joe Thallemer and the group has another major project that will debut this fall, Light said.
The Community Foundation has a specific fund set up for anyone wanting to contribute to the public arts effort.