By Luke Robins
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter
ST. JOHNS – A new sculpture, created by a local citizen, has been added to the St. Johns City Park. The Lansing Economic Area Partnership and the PNC Foundation provided a $10,000 grant to the city to pay for the piece.
The sculpture was created by Ivan Iler who lives and runs his business, Hammer In Hand Custom Cycles, in St. Johns.
April Wilson, a grant coordinator for the city, advocated and applied for the grant. She believes it will bring a lot more attention to the new spray park addition that was added earlier this year.
“The piece was meant to draw attention to the spray park that was just opened in August,” Wilson said. “We really wanted something in the entrance way to draw attention to a place with all the donors on it. It definitely fit with what we wanted.”
According to Iler, the water was his inspiration.
Iler said, “It was going in for the spray park so I thought a big splash of aluminum would be really cool. Something that looked like water.”
According to Wilson, this is not the first time St. Johns has received this grant. The city is trying to bring more public artwork and they were lucky to be able to receive it once again.
“We’re looking to add more. The city has formed an art committee and so were always looking to bring more art,” Wilson said. “Normally you cannot reapply for three years, but there weren’t a lot of applications so we were able to reapply and we were chosen.”
Many people from St. Johns think the public art will help the city in various ways.
Iler believes that the public art will draw positive attention to the city.
Iler said, “Public art is always good for the community. Public art is the kind of thing that gets people’s attention. People come from long ways away to see things like that so having that kind of stuff around builds interest. The more public art you have in a space, the more likely you are to have people drawn to it.”
According to Wilson, the art work will help make St. Johns look like a more modern city.
“I think the public art shows that St. Johns has more to offer than just being a small town. We are trying to be more upscale,” Wilson said. “When people think of public art they think of cities like Ann Arbor. We want to show we are more like that.”
Jane Cleland, a St. Johns resident, said, “I think it’s great. It will bring in the young and old people out. Everybody will enjoy it. It will bring people down to the park area. It’s a nice family type setting and it will bring all ages out to have fun.”
According to Iler, he is no stranger to making artwork like this and it is one of his favorite passions. He is excited that there is funding for public art and the fact that he was able to contribute to this cause.
“I’ve always loved doing metal work and loved building sculptures. The fact that there is funding out there for public art is the coolest thing. It’s starting to pick up now. The funding is starting to pop up in more areas and people are starting to realize that if they put up artwork it really brings people in. The funding for the arts is picking up and that’s something you don’t generally see. When schools are running out of money, the art programs are generally the first cut. This is the sort of stuff I’ve always loved, so seeing the funding come around and being a part of that it’s better for me than anything else. I love running the motorcycle shop and building bikes, but putting up artwork and seeing people interested in the things I do, it’s a great feeling.”
Wilson thought that having a local create such a great piece for the city was a good idea.
“It was neat to have someone local, someone from St. Johns, do the art work. Ivan lives here, he runs a business here, and he was the artist,” Wilson said. “I think he really hit the nail on the head.”