By Dan Spalding
WARSAW – Suzie Light left an impression on the foundation.
And now, the Kosciusko County Community Foundation has unveiled its own impression of Light.
So to speak.
Light retired recently after 27 years with the foundation, and on Monday, Sept. 14, she helped unveil a plaque outside of the foundation office that commemorates her role with the organization.
The artwork is titled “Lighting The Way” – a playful pun that speaks to her impact at the foundation where she served as executive director for nearly 25 years.
The art is now affixed to the office building just outside the front door and along South Buffalo Street.
The work was first unveiled at a retirement party for Light held on Aug. 18.
The artwork is fittingly appropriate because Light has been part of a small group pushing for the community to embrace public art.
“We wanted to do something wonderful and permanent to commemorate Suzie’s contributions to the community foundation. We kicked around several ideas, but we always came back to the idea of Suzie’s love for art and how important that was to her,” said Brenda Rigdon, who is the development director for the foundation.
The foundation wanted a metallic piece of art and turned to artist Steve Shelby, of South Whitley.
After working with a small committee on ideas, Shelby came up with a vision of a path in a forest with rays of sunshine at the end.
The three-foot-tall artwork is made of silicon bronze. The image was punched into shape from behind where Shelby relied on a sketch.
Shelby said he worked on it for about four months.
He studied art at Ball State University, got away from it for a long time, but rediscovered his artistic flair in 2002.
He has a website and a large collection of his own art at home, but the work for the foundation is the first on public display
“At the age of 71, I’m making a big step here,” he said jokingly.
The art will be part of Warsaw’s Virtual Public Arts Trail, which has a growing collection of public art to highlight.
The Foundation has a fund set aside for the development of public art. Light has overseen the Warsaw arts commission charged with developing more public art in Warsaw.
She said the art dedicated in her name was unexpected but certainly appreciated.
Light said she believes in the importance of public art because it “gives people a chance to pause outside of our daily routine to think about things beyond ourselves.”