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February 21, 2024

Matthews-Sanders Sculpture Garden

New works placed at BPAC

By Jack Criss

The Bolivar Bullet

The Matthews-Sanders Sculpture Garden, located in Cleveland in front of Delta State’s Bologna Performing Arts Center, the Grammy Museum and downtown, revealed its new selection of sculptures late last week in what Nan Sanders called their “maybe the best collection of work yet.” 

Sanders noted the hard work and dedication of the Garden’s committee members–all of whom are volunteers: Laura Howell, Executive Director of BPAC; retired DSU administrator, Myrtis Tabb; Ron Koehler, past Chairman of the DSU Art/Sculpture Department; current DSU Sculpture professor, Lawson King and Lauren Powell, Director of the Delta Arts Alliance. Also, Sanders wants to thank the City of Cleveland for their partnership and the use of the crane and the men who helped place the sculptures. 

Begun by the late Pam Matthews, wife of former DSU President David Potter, in the summer of 2000, the garden has–in the years since–attracted work from sculptors all across the country. 

“We hold a competition every two years,” said Sanders, who co-founded the garden with Matthews at its outset. “We have artists submit their work online, based on our entry guidelines, with a May deadline. Afterwards, a six-member committee takes about a month, after careful deliberation, to select and announce the new winners in June.”

Last Thursday, former works on display that had not been sold were picked up by the artists, with the new pieces then being placed and installed on Friday. 

“It’s amazing to me that people drove from as far away as Michigan and New York to deliver their pieces,” said Sanders. “We do provide stipends to the artists if we keep their sculptures here on display for the two years. Currently, we have, with this year’s new arrivals, 53 pieces on display, 38 of those on permanent display here in town.” 

Sanders also said several sculptures over the years have been purchased by individuals for their own private art collections. 

It will take about a month to get the information and videos of this new class of sculptures on the website. Sanders encourages interested parties to visit www.thesculpturegardensms .com. You may also Google Mathews-Sanders Sculpture Garden for all pertinent history and information on their work. Wonderfully informative videos, shot and produced  this year by noted Cleveland filmmaker, Ben Powell, can be viewed. 

“We’re looking to have an official unveiling of the new sculptures in September, hopefully, just prior to a show at BPAC,” said Sanders. “The announcement for that will be forthcoming.”