An international design competition will be held to select a piece of public art that will be installed in downtown Baton Rouge in 2018 to mark the 100th anniversary of the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge.
The sculpture will be placed at an overlook of the Mississippi River, at Florida Street and River Road.
“We felt this was the best point for us to do the project,” Raymond “Skipper” Post, an architect and member of the Rotary centennial committee, said during the Downtown Development District board of commissioners’ meeting Tuesday. “It’s the heart of where the city started and two blocks from where the Rotary Club began.”
The Rotary Club started meeting in Baton Rouge at Hotel Istrouma, which was at Florida and Third streets, before moving to the Heidelberg Hotel, now the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center.
CODAworx, of Madison, Wisconsin, a global online community of more than 5,000 artists, architects, landscape architects and designers, will work with Rotary and put out a call to its members. Post said he expects there will be 200 to 300 entrants, which will be reduced to a list of 30 to 50 applicants. Ultimately, three to five designers will be asked to submit artwork for downtown. The most appropriate entrant will be commissioned to produce the work. Plans are to start the competition this year.
Post said the goal is to design something “that gets people really excited” and possibly has an interactive component. “We want something that grabs attention from miles away,” Post said, a design that can stand up to the enormous space of the Mississippi River.
Beau Olinde, who heads up the Rotary centennial committee, said nearly $350,000 has been raised for the sculpture. The goal is to have the art in place when Rotary marks its 100th birthday, sometime around the middle of 2018.
“This is an incredible project,” said Davis Rhorer, executive director of the DDD. Rhorer noted the artwork will be placed where the downtown Greenway begins and ends and at the foot of the Mississippi River.
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