classmates of Harold Balazs from Dover High School's class of
1946 were among the dozens of people attending the dedication
ceremony for the artist's sculpture Saturday in Westlake. (Photo
by Larry Bennet)
sculpture should provoke wonder, artist says
By Kevin Kelley
Published July 13, 2005
Harold Balazs, creator of the new public art sculpture at the corner
of Hilliard Boulevard and Center Ridge Road, said it doesn't have
any particular meaning or symbolism. He doesn't even seem concerned
what people call it or how people interpret it, as long as it provokes
The 16-foot outdoor sculpture created from stainless steel by Balazs,
a native of Westlake, was formally dedicated Saturday afternoon.
It was shipped in two pieces by truck from Washington state, where
Balazs now lives, and hoisted into place by a crane Thursday morning.
The $30,000 sculpture was commissioned by the Westlake-Westshore
Arts Council (WWAC) to advance its goal of getting more public art
in the area.
"It's a wonder-giving device, I hope," Balazs told West Life. "I
don't think it's important what it is we make, but I think we just
need to decorate the world and cause surprises."
The various geometric shapes don't necessarily mean anything, the
artist explained in an interview, although he did give some insight
into his ideas which went into the piece.
one thing that runs through the work that I consider my most serious
stuff is the idea of juxtaposing disparate ideas," Balazs said.
"This is a very complex world. This disparate quality of life in
the world today -- we need to start getting along with each other.
I try to express that idea -- disparate ideas can get along. And
it's nothing more complicated than that."
Too much importance is placed on the interpretation of art, Balazs
During the dedication ceremony, Balazs said he is more intrigued
by the mysterious giant heads of Easter Island of which little is
known than by artwork from the Vatican.
"Not knowing is more important than knowing, I think," he said of
the meanings or motivations of artists.
Balazs said he believes his duty -- and that of all artists -- is
to create a sense of wonder through their work. "We (make) something
out of our being that says 'look at this and wonder,'" he said.
The piece itself is untitled, although Roger Cooley, a member of
WWAC and second cousin of Balazs, has taken to calling it "The Circle
of Life." But Balazs said Saturday he will always think of it as
"The Class of '46," after his graduating class of Dover High School.
About a dozen of Balazs' classmates attended Saturday's ceremony,
some traveling from as far away as Florida, Arizona and California.
"If you want to make more of it, go ahead," Balazs said. "It's not
important. It's just that I hope you enjoy it."
Mayor Dennis Clough said while he was campaigning Saturday morning,
he received a number of positive comments about the sculpture.
"The outpouring of participation and support here demonstrate how
much this community appreciates art," the he said.
The mayor said the intersection of Hilliard Boulevard and Dover
Center Road is an appropriate location for the sculpture.
"I think this truly is the crossroads of our community; it certainly
is the center of our community," Clough said, noting it's near City
Hall, the high school, the school administration building and Porter
Public Library. "I think everybody in the community travels through
this particular intersection. So I think it's a great location where
everybody can appreciate this sculpture that we now have in the
city of Westlake."
The WWAC spent three years raising funds to purchase the piece.
"It's been the accumulation of a lot of hard work," outgoing WWAC
Co-president Patt Long said after Saturday's dedication ceremony.
"It's been a collaboration of the entire arts council."
But it was worth all the work to see the two-ton sculpture in its
permanent home, Long said.
"I am blown away," she said. "I don't even have words to say how
pleased I am."