MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. - The Children's Room at the Mount Vernon Public Library will soon have a new look that is years in the making.
Next week, ArtsWestchester will unveil a sculpture in front of the library called “Seeing the Wind” by artist Rochelle Shicoff and fabricator John Cipora that is meant to represent the diversity of Mount Vernon.
According to the artist, “Mount Vernon’s community of African Americans, Africans, people from the Caribbean and Brazil were all taken into account in the design, and the sculpture mirrors the aspects of imagination and reflection expressed in the literature found at the Mount Vernon Children’s Room in the library.”
“The inspiration for ‘Seeing The Wind’ was the fact that the site is the Children's entrance to the Library and therefore designed as a whimsical, lighthearted piece of sculpture,” Shicoff said. “Also, when I visited the site I went into the library and saw beautiful painted murals in the interior space. I took some of the animals that were represented in these paintings and included them in my sculpture.”
ArtsWestchester CEO Janet Langsam said that the sculpture was made possible with the help of Assemblyman J. Gary Prelaw who helped secure a $50,000 grant through the New York State Community Capital Assistance Program.
“ArtsWestchester has been a partner with the Mount Vernon Library for many years,” she said. “Together with Mount Vernon civic and arts leaders, we have supported the establishment of the library’s Rotunda Gallery, and along the way became interested in brightening the facade of the Children’s Room through public art.”
The piece, which was originally conceived four years ago, includes a grouping of 11 painted steel wands that measure 13 feet off the ground with painted golden-winged animals at the top of each wand.
“I envisioned that the community, and of course the children, would be delighted by the colors and the recognizable animals that do move in the wind,” Shicoff added. “I thought that this might be a destination for people and that this work would enliven the street.
“Since this is a library site, teachers can use this work for their classes to create their own stories about the animals, as individual animals and also in relationship to one another. The geometric patterns are also an important element in the work and can also be used for discussions.”