Metal sculpture helps Art Park grow

The welded sculpture created during September’s Heavy Metal Remix event doesn’t have a name, but that will change soon.

Its home near the front of the park on East Alkaline Springs Road will be the same until next spring when a permanent spot in the park will be determined.

The Heavy Metal Remix project kicked off Sept. 7 and continued through Sept. 18. Local metal artist Doug Benedict worked to create the sculpture from donated reclaimed metal parts and scraps during the project hosted by Public Art in Vandalia, the Cultural Arts committee, the Vandalia-Butler Foundation and Minster Bank.

“The response has been very positive,” said Candace Farst, Vandalia’s vice mayor and council liaison to the Public Art in Vandalia committee. “People enjoyed asking questions and watching him work.”

During the hot afternoon of Sept. 16, Benedict worked with two volunteer assistants as a handful of people for a while stood next to a fence separating spectators from the work area. While Benedict and the assistants measured and discussed the next steps, the spectators retreated to a table in the shade.

At this point the sculpture included a series of small propane tanks and what appeared to be a head lying on the ground nearby.

The public donated metal items such as old bicycle and car parts, tools, grates, chains and radiators.

Suggestions for the sculpture’s name were sought during the event on a sign-up sheet and after on Facebook. Some “very interesting” names have been suggested so far, Farst said.

She said she’s glad the city has pursued the Art Park.

“I am extremely happy with the positive feedback we get from citizens about the Art Park. People are using it regularly and the new uses are pretty amazing,” she said.

“We see photographers taking pictures, families piling out of their car and groups walking and enjoying the sculptures. It seems to constantly grow,” Farst said.

The park’s location next to the Vandalia-Butler Historical Society grounds makes it even more of a destination, she said.

Future park projects will include a bench program along with new landscaping. An exhibit of Butler High School students’ works is being explored and a Call to Artists is planned for the 2017 exhibit.

For more Art Park Information, go online to

Contact this contributing writer at