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Installation underway for sculpture inspired by chimney at Shelby Iron Works Park

Shelby County Alabama Sculpture Shelby County Arts Council Shelby Iron works Park Ted Metz
A sculpture by Ted Metz is installed at Old Mill Square Park, which is home to the Shelby County Arts Council

It was a long time in the waiting, but installation of a sculpture inspired the chimney at the Shelby Iron Works Park finally began Thursday.

On the grounds of the new Old Mill Square Park in Columbiana, a sculpture by nationally-known sculptor Ted Metz was given its permanent home.

"Sustenance: Agriculture, Art, Industry" is the name of the piece, which stands a towering 26 feet. Included in the piece is a 1500 pound millstone, which was one of two found on the Old Mill Square Park during excavation. The addition of bricks from the Shelby Iron Works were an additional nod to the history of Shelby County.

"The mill stone, sited on the circular plaza, is an homage to the agricultural history that preceded us. It is a tool that was used to grind grains into breads and other sustaining products," reads a press release from the Shelby County Arts Council. "The steel tower is a reference to the only remaining smoke stack that exists at the site of the Shelby Iron Works, Shelby, Alabama. This rusty tower suggests it age. It supports a crucible pouring bronze through a port at the top and into the space under the tower. The tower and the pouring metal are all direct references to the areas industrial history which provided sustenance to that working community. It is also a reference to some of the studio activity that will take place within the new facility."

Another sculpture by Nelson Grice, also a nationally-known sculptor, is currently in the construction phase and will also reside next to the new arts council building. Grice's work will pay homage to Columbiana as the "county seat" of Shelby County, and will feature a large chair with a second millstone that was found on the property. The back of the chair will feature a relief of the Old 1854 Courthouse, which is the home of the Shelby County Museum & Archives. More information of that sculpture to come!

To read more about Metz's sculpture, and the influence history played in its design, click here.

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