Local History and Genealogy
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Public Sculpture in Kalamazoo
Over the course of the last year, my position as local history intern has afforded me numerous opportunities to engage in a variety of projects, most of which have allowed me to pursue my own personal local history interests while contributing to the body of material available to the public for use in their own historical inquiries. When the weather has been appropriate, these projects have often taken me outdoors, camera in hand, and onto the streets of Kalamazoo. Last summer, I had the distinct pleasure of visiting and photographing the various historic districts of Kalamazoo County in order to compile information from the National Register of Historic Places and the State Historic Preservation Office in a series of web pages. When appropriate, I would always opt to walk to these destinations. In my pedestrian travels throughout Kalamazoo, I was frequently impressed by the quality and quantity of public memorials, monuments, sculptures, murals, and other works of art. When discussion regarding updates to the library’s online photo gallery of local public sculpture occurred last winter, I immediately became interested in contributing to this effort.
As soon as the last of the significant quantities of snow had melted, and the weather had begun to turn more hospitable, I was ready to take new photographs of the works previously included, and quickly decided to expand the collection. From nine, the gallery has grown to thirty-nine with plans to include approximately two dozen additional sculptures. The sheer number of works of public sculpture found in Kalamazoo renders even this list incomplete, and it is my hope that if you are aware of a work that has been currently overlooked, you will inform me in order to help create the most comprehensive list possible.
These sculptures are, and have been, sources of civic pride for the residents of Kalamazoo, and we are lucky to conduct our lives amidst an atmosphere that encourages and appreciates the creation of works of artistic expression. While I am continuing to expand the gallery devoted to public sculpture in Kalamazoo, I am also currently engaged in creating a similar gallery focusing on public murals. It is my hope to have a version available by the end of spring.
Kalamazoo Ruby Light Chandelier