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Local volunteers work to enhance Uptown

By Marion Times | December 3rd, 2015 |

Did you enjoy seeing the colorful flowers along 7th Avenue in Marion’s historic district this summer and fall? Where several ailing trees have been removed over the years, nothing much seemed to thrive along the sidewalk. But this year Priscilla Steele, co-owner of Campbell Steele Gallery, took it upon herself to plant colorful flowers in several 4-foot square beds found here and there between 10th and 12th Street. It was a labor of love to tend these flowers throughout the growing season, and Priscilla’s daily trips with her red wagon and buckets of water did not go unnoticed!

During Uptown Marion’s recent volunteer recognition event, she received an appreciative round of applause along with a beautiful bouquet presented by Ashley Zierath, Uptown Marion’s Main Street Director.

But to properly thank Priscilla for beautifying one of Marion’s most highly visible thoroughfares, Main Street members of the Uptown Design Committee decided to follow her lead and find a way to enliven the area once the flowers faded. After much brainstorming, one of those volunteers, Cara Briggs Farmer, devised a creative solution.

An accomplished artist with her own studio in Uptown Marion (Synergy Metalworks), Cara volunteered to weld a series of spheres to fill the voids with original art. Using metal bands from Marion Iron, she spent 30 hours assembling playful globes that are 3 feet in diameter and sit atop legs that elevate the art up from the flowerbeds. The sturdy armatures are wrapped in welcoming lights for the winter months, and could serve as trellises during the next growing season.

Design Committee volunteers Nathan Caraway, David Martin and Dave Murray worked with Director Zierath to install all 15 sculptures along 7th Avenue in advance of Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. Visitors now have an extra reward for strolling and shopping Uptown, where they can escape the generic and enjoy unique sculptural pieces created by one of Marion’s own innovative artists!

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