Sculptures 2016

Basic CMYKAuburn Arts Commission, Inc. presents its 2016 art exhibit, Sculptures on the Square III – The Magic of Metal. The project carries on our tradition of showcasing outstanding art in DeKalb County and ties into Indiana’s Bicentennial by honoring the many uses of metal in the development of our community.

The exhibit features the works of these artists:



Robert Barnum, Mecosta MI


Robert Barnum received his AA from Oregon College of Art, his BS from Southern Oregon State University, and his MFA from Idaho State University. He is currently a Professor at Ferris State University in Big Rapids MI, with previous teaching positions at Idaho State University [Pocatello ID], the University of St Francis [Fort Wayne IN], and Columbia College [Chicago IL]. His concept developments include “Michigan Walk”, “Presidential Art Collection”, and “Mecosta County Public Art Initiative”. Barnum’s public art installations include “ Flow” [Montague MI]; “Human Poetry” [Denver CO]; “UVU Story” [Orem UT]; “Healing Hands” [Big Rapids MI]; and numerous others in Ohio, Michigan, and Iowa. He is the recipient of over 30 awards in National and International Juried competitions; the Patron of the Arts Award – Mecosta County; Michigan Artist of the Year [2003]; Governor’s Award for the Arts and Culture; and the Professional Achievement Award for Arts & Sciences [Idaho State University]. Click here to view more of Barnum’s work and visit his website.

Featured work in Sculptures on the Square III: “Age of Iron”

This figure-driven sculpture is dedicated to the Industrial Age, which built many cities like Auburn, Indiana. It will feature two figures suggesting the physical labor that is traditional of the factory environment that built the Industrial era. A tree form cut into the kneeling figure’s support plaque suggests the quality of life those same towns enjoy today. The “Age of Iron” sculpture will be fabricated out of mild steel and painted with exterior enamel paint.

Elton Bishop, Auburn IN


An Auburn IN native, Elton Bishop is an award-winning engineer and sculptor whose steel designs are biologically inspired and carefully calculated to perfection. Bishop has developed, designed, built, and tested digital hydraulic concepts and prototypes; and has experience in structural design and analysis. He attended Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne where he studied physics, mechanical and electrical engineering, and computer programming. Click here to view more of Bishop’s work.

Featured work in Sculptures on the Square III: “Signe”

A beautiful, organic object embodied in rugged steel…alien, yet familiar. A gift to my beloved hometown!

Sayaka Ganz, Fort Wayne IN


Born in Yokohama, Japan, Sayaka Ganz grew up in Japan, Brazil, and Hong Kong. She received her BFA from Indiana University [Bloomington IN], and her MFA from Bowling Green State University [Bowling Green OH]. Ganz taught design and drawing courses at Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne from 2002 to 2012, working now as a fulltime artist. Using reclaimed objects, Sayaka’s recent sculptures depict animals in motion with rich colors and energy. Her recent exhibitions include: “Changing Tides” at the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory [Fort Wayne]; “Danze Della Natura” at the Hermann Geiger Foundation [Cecina, Italy]; and “Feng Shui – Wind and Water” at the Isle Gallery [Isle of Man]. Her recent commissions include a series of four marine life sculptures for the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, and a permanent installation in the atrium of the Exploration Tower in Port Canaveral Florida depicting an underwater scene with eight whales and various schools of fish. Click here to view more of Ganz’s work and visit her website.

Featured work in Sculptures on the Square III: “Life Energy”

This design utilizes mostly curvilinear pieces of scrap metal such as old fence posts, rebar etc. to create an open, skeletal structure that resemble blades of grass or thin leaves, extended upward into the sky. Overall configuration will be similar to a flame, to represent the hot energy of molten iron and metal industry. The flame formation will consist of five sections, the tallest single central piece that is directly welded on to the base plate and four shorter outer pieces that will be bolted onto the base.  There will also be circular elements such as gears and wheels scattered throughout the structure, to symbolize sparks and rotating gears of industry as well as seeds from the rich plant life of Indiana.

James Havens, Woodville OH

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After graduating from high school in Warsaw IL, James Havens served in the US Marine Corps which included a Mediterranean tour and a two-year Honor Guard assignment in Washington DC. Marrying in 1965, Havens and his wife settled in Ohio where he began a 30-year career with the Ironworkers Local 55 out of Toledo. Upon retirement, James threw himself into sculpting with steel. In 2000 he was recruited by Owens Community College to teach Artistic Welding…a popular class with students of all ages and backgrounds, many of whom currently compete with their teacher [to his great satisfaction]. Since 2005 Havens has organized an annual “Sculpture in the Village” show and the Havens Studio is host to the Toledo Area Sculptors Guild. James works in polished stainless steel, painted steel, and bronze. His background in ironwork assures that his pieces are as sound, stable, and virtually indestructible as they are beautiful. Click here to view more of Havens’ work and visit his website.

Featured work in Sculptures on the Square III: “Phoenix”

The Phoenix is a mythical bird that rises from ashes every 1000 years. The sculpture is created from welded stainless steel and cast iron in an effort to evoke the soaring geometrical design and symmetry distinctive of the Art Deco era of the 1930s.

Mike Helbing, Berwyn IL

Mike Helbing

Mike Helbing grew up in the Midwest, lived in New York City for two years, attended Purdue University [West Lafayette IN], and spent one tour of duty in Viet Nam with the US Army. After his military service, Mike attended Ball State University [Muncie IN] and graduated with a BS in Fine Art. In the mid eighties, he moved to Chicago, married, and in 1991 graduated from Northern Illinois University with an MFA in Sculpture. He worked with Richard Hunt to plan and build sculptures for the Meijer Sculpture Garden [Grand Rapids MI]; a 55 foot stainless steel piece in St Joseph MI; and works for Augusta GA and Chicago’s Midway Airport. Helbing has installed his own public sculptures in Hutchinson KS; Indianapolis IN; and Quebec, Canada. His work is part of the permanent collection at the National Veterans Art Museum where he is Chairman of the Board of Directors. Click here to view more of Helbing’s work and visit his website.

Featured work in Sculptures on the Square III: “Shine Tree”

“Shine Tree” is made from twisted, shredded, steel scrap and thin stainless steel ribbon. The base and trunk is to be constructed from scrap heavy bent tube, pipe, plate and other forms. Some might have still paint on it while others will be left with a coat of rust. The trunk will twist and turn upward much like an old willow crossed with a cedar. Yet, still, it will be a Mike’s idea tree. There is a general plan but not a set of schematic drawings. Depending on what is available old shiny will grow in a twisted convoluted spiral up toward the branching crown. From there it will extend outwards with branches between 5’ and 10 feet long. From these branches stainless steel ribbons will hang, blowing and flexing in the wind spreading reflections and sound.

Todd Kime, Toledo OH

From architecture to art, Todd Kime has a passion for the creative process. Using a wide spectrum of materials in various genres, a sense of whimsy is always prevalent in his work. Kime is a graduate of Ohio State University where he received his BS in Architecture. He continues his education at Owens Community College in the Artistic Welding course taught by James Havens. Currently his work is featured in exhibitions in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Tennessee. Kime has pieces in permanent installations including the Ella Sharp Museum [Jackson MI]; Chelsea Community Hospital [Chelsea MI]; “Sculpture with Purpose” [Fort Wayne IN]; and a private collection in St Joseph MI. Todd is the owner of Kime Design, a custom residential architectural design firm; and is curator of “Sculpture In the Park” in Ottawa Hills OH. Click here to view more of Kime’s work and visit his website.

Featured work in Sculptures on the Square III: “Pulse”

Represents energy, vibrancy and spirit.

Alex Mendez, Decatur IN


As s sculptor and working musician, Alex Mendez translates his background in classical guitar into abstract metal sculptures he believes are portrayals of what musicians might visualize in their own mind’s eye. An apprenticeship with sculptor and brother Greg Mendez has provided Alex the opportunity to learn all aspects of sculpture: concept, design, production, and installation…each new piece a step in his creative journey. Click here to view more of Mendez’s work.

Featured work in Sculptures on the Square III: “A Peek Inside”

A melding of both the body and internal structure of a classical guitar.

Greg Mendez, Fort Wayne IN


Born in Decatur IN, Greg Mendez graduated with a BFA in sculpture from the University of St Francis in Fort Wayne. While in college Mendez studied extensively under a stone sculptor and master scagliola craftsman. Through those experiences he gained a great appreciation for traditional art, leading him to devote his time to sculpting large-scale public works. Greg’s sculptures have been included in many juried public displays throughout the Midwest and he is the recipient of numerous awards. In addition to permanently place public works and commissions, Greg also participates in community development by chairing a committee promoting public art on a local level. Click here to view more of Mendez’s work.

Featured work in Sculptures on the Square III: “Tranquil Composure”

This sculpture, made with various steel rods, flat bars and gauged sheet metal, is a figure reaching up towards something that is just out of her grasp.

John Mishler, Goshen IN

John Mishler grew up in Elkhart IN, received his BA in Art from Goshen College [Goshen IN] and his MFA in Sculpture from the University of Tennessee [Knoxville TN]. Following graduate school, Mishler returned to Goshen to teach sculpture at Goshen College which he continues to do today. Originally working in wood, his desire to make larger works for outdoor installations drove him to work in metal…steel, stainless steel, and aluminum. Utilizing mostly recycled metals, Mishler is known for incorporating a kinetic element to his work. His sculptures have been included in public and private collections across the United States, Canada, and the South of France. Click here to view more of Mishler’s work and visit his website.

Featured work in Sculptures on the Square III: “Celebration Waltz”

Industrial round and box aluminum tubing bent, cut and welded together into an uplifting sculpture with a kinetic element dancing on top.

George Morrison, Fort Wayne IN

GeorgeMorrison with grandsonHenry

A graduate of Ball State University [Muncie IN] with a Bachelor of Architecture, George Morrison is a Viet Nam Veteran who served with the US Army Corps of Engineers. He studied art and architecture in England, France, Holland, Ireland, and Italy. George is the founder (now retired) of Morrison Kattman Menze, Inc., an architectural, planning and interior design firm. An adjunct instructor of Ceramics at the University of St Francis [Fort Wayne IN], he established George Morrison Art & Design in 2010. His public art commissions include: “Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Plaza” [Spencer County IN]; “Loco-Motion” [Houston TX]; “InGuard” [Wabash IN]; “Array”, “Dedication Mural”, “Flights of Friendship: Weaving Cultures”, “Echelon”, “Sculpture with Purpose”, “City”, and “We Remember Them” all in Fort Wayne IN. Click here to view more of Morrison’s work.

Featured work in Sculptures on the Square III: “Hard Rain”

In developing this sculpture I wanted to invert our common use steel as a hard material by using to represent something that is very soft: rain. A surrealistic twist is added with a square piece of sky being supported in space by the rain falling from it. The “sky” is sheet metal with painted clouds. The “rain” and lightning are made of structural steel angles and bars.

Benjamin Pierce, Cape Girardeau MO


Born in Southeast Missouri, Ben Pierce grew up on hard work and traditional values. After high school he served four years in the military before attending Southeast Missouri State University graduating with a BFA. Pierce creates simple geometric forms that capture the viewers’ interest and stirs their emotions. Negative space is an important aspect of his work…helping to focus on feelings that are universally identifiable. Click here to view more of Pierce’s work and visit his website.

Featured work in Sculptures on the Square III: “Steady”

Utilizing steel to exemplify its architectural and structural qualities with a design that is friendly to all ages.

Nathan Pierce, Cape Girardeau MO


Born in Cape Girardeau MO, Nathan Pierce is a graduate of Southeast Missouri State University where he received his BFA in Sculpture. His father, a third generation stonemason, taught him the value of craftsmanship, which spurred his passion for building things with his hands. Pierce’s sculptures reflect his interest in architecture and a belief that communication plays a fundamental role in our perception of the world. His work has been displayed extensively in juried exhibitions and outdoor sculpture programs across the Midwest including The Chicago Sculpture Exhibit; Sculpture Walk Sioux Falls; SPACES Sculpture Invitational [Huntsville AL]; and is the recipient of the 2013 Lewis C Weinberg Award at the Skokie North Shore Sculpture Park. Click here to view more of Pierce’s work and visit his website.

Featured work in Sculptures on the Square III: “Sweet Pea”

By using public art as a vehicle for expressing contemporary issues concerning communication, I see the concept of my work becoming for relevant every day.

Pamela Reithmeier, Monclova OH

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Born in the Toledo OH area, Pamela Reithmeier has a Masters in Special Education from the University of Toledo and taught for 34 years. Reithmeier began sculpting in 2002 under the tutelage of James Haven at Owens Community College. She has won various awards for her art and her sculptures been displayed in galleries and juried shows throughout Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, Indiana, and Illinois. In addition, Pamela has sculptures in private collections as well as a commissioned piece located at Fremont Middle School, Fremont OH. Pamela uses both salvaged and new materials in her work. She is currently the president of the Toledo Area Sculptors Guild. Click here to view more of Reithmeier’s work.

Featured work in Sculptures on the Square III: “Whimsy”

This piece is a whimsical look at nature…the bright colors and playful shapes are meant to convey a lighthearted feeling that a day at the park may invoke.

Kenneth Thompson, Blissfield MI


Ken Thompson holds a Master of Liberal Studies in Sculpture from the University of Toledo and a BFA in painting and printmaking from Siena Heights University [Adrian MI]. Ken has been making sculpture for over 35 years in a former car dealership turned studio in Blissfield MI. He and his assistants also operate Flatlanders Sculpture Supply & Art Galleries, and the Midwest Sculpture Initiative. Well versed in bronze casting and metal fabrication, Thompson’s major focus has been large-scale public sculpture. His commissions include the Reclamation Archway for Blue Cross/Blue Shield [Detroit MI]; the Peace Arch for the City of Toledo in honor of Viet Nam Veterans; the Korean War Memorial [Toledo OH]; the Centennial Arch [Sylvania OH]; and the Community Arch [Canton MI]. In addition to numerous installations throughout Michigan, Ohio, Florida, and Washington DC, Ken enjoys doing smaller works for gallery exhibitions. He has 26 one-person shows, numerous group exhibitions, and many awards to his credit. Click here to view more of Thompson’s work and visit his website.

Featured work in Sculptures on the Square III:  “Race of the Classics”

Silhouettes of classic Auburn, Cord, and Duesenberg automobiles in a race…swaying in the wind.

Neil Wiffill, Fort Wayne IN


Born in Somerset, England, Neil Wiffill joined the English Merchant Navy at 16 and served for six years. Shortly after serving, he worked directly under David Hayles, the leading expert in scagliola restoration. Wiffill came to the United States in 1990 to restore the scagliola that blankets the Allen County Courthouse in Fort Wayne IN. Through the course of the 10-year restoration project he made his home in Fort Wayne. Since moving to the States Neil has taken a forgotten plaster technique and given it life in the form of sculpture. Neil’s scagliola can be found in many estates across Europe as well as government buildings, historic theaters, and public art displays throughout the United States. Click here to view more of Wiffill’s work.

Featured work in Sculptures on the Square III: “Goddess”

My sculpture will be a close interpretation of the Auburn motorcar hood ornament, known as the “Flying Lady”. The sculpture will be made from Scagliola, colored and polished to give the appearance of chrome.