New sculpture installed outside Performing Arts Institute

Marie McConnaughey’s welded art sculpture depicting an abstract ballerina in front of the Ohio Performing Arts Institute on East High Street. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
Caption
Marie McConnaughey’s welded art sculpture depicting an abstract ballerina in front of the Ohio Performing Arts Institute on East High Street. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

The Ohio Performing Arts Institute is known for the arts that go on inside its walls. Now it can be recognized for the artwork outside.

A welded art sculpture depicting an abstract ballerina was installed recently in front of the OPAI building, located at 1616 E. High St.

READ MORE: Family of Springfield theater shooting victim set to dedicate memorial

“We had wanted something out there for a long time. I was totally taken away, it was beyond expectations,” said D. Scot Davidge, OPAI artistic director.

The sculpture was created by Marie McConnaughey, who just began doing welding art in fall 2017 after having created numerous watercolor and oil paintings previously.

It was a donation to OPAI, where her granddaughter had taken classes.

McConnaughey had done several animal welded sculptures, and even submitted one to the recent 72nd Annual Juried Members’ Exhibition at the Springfield Museum of Art.

But this was a step farther, speaking conservatively. She created a prototype and went from there.

The inspiration came from the abstract ballerina tattoo that adorns one of Davidge’s arms, which is the also the logo for OPAI’s dance company.

TRENDING: ‘People actually went up thinking it was a police officer:’ Man steals Springfield police cruiser, crashes

The materials included mild steel, which is very thin and pliable, that needed formed with machines and built in three sections and took just two to three weeks to complete.

“The top hat was the hardest,” McConnaughey confessed.

The 10-foot, 750-pound will be a billboard of sorts for what goes on inside for passersby.

“We are a performing arts center after all, theater and ballet,” Davidge said.

The next step is to name the work. OPAI is opening the naming to the public in a contest over the next two months.

Submissions can be sent to www.facebook.com/ohioperformingartsinstitute/.

The winning entry will receive the small concept of the work and tickets to OPAI’s annual performance of “The Nutcracker.” A dedication ceremony will also be part of it.

It also may not be the final collaboration between the two sides. Davidge hinted there could be room for further projects and McConnaughey will be ready for that or others that could come along.

OPAI’s fall classes will begin Aug. 20 and registration will start Aug. 9.