A sculpture set to be installed next week in Clayton stems from a permitting request to build 72 luxury condominiums on Carondelet Plaza.
said that at the time of his request, the city required an art component to help beautify the area. He is managing partner of MK&C LLC Crescent, which developed The Crescent.
The resulting sculpture is Uzumaki Curve, by artist Gerard Tsutakawa. The word "uzumaki" means "community" in Japanese, a news release from The Crescent states. It will be unveiled May 4 during Sidewalk Soiree, an event featuring food and entertainment on the plaza.
The process took time. Mehlman hired Faith Berger of Faith Berger Art Consultants to research a number of artists.
Berger said she works to find appropriate artists by having in-depth conversations with clients and examining the area to learn how the building and surrounding street look.
"I look for the best feeling for the space," Berger said. The area around The Crescent, Berger said, is built in a European fashion, and the building itself has "a nice curve."
After reviewing hundreds of possible artists, she presented three to Mehlman. The Clayton Arts Commission reviewed the candidates, and Berger worked with Mehlman to find the best place for the piece of art.
Tsutakawa has done all kinds of art projects, and she found his work in bronze striking.
"I just thought it brought a really nice flair," she said. Tsutakawa came to Clayton for a couple of days, met with Mehlman and got a feel for the space.
The vortex-shaped sculpture will sit 18 inches off the ground on a pedestal.
The artwork "represents a theme of naturally spiraling curves," stated Megan Lipson of Catalyst Communications in an email. "It is a welded fabrication assembled from multiple segments of silicon bronze sheets and meticulously finished in Tsutakawa’s unique signature patina, a secret formulation inherited from his father, the artist George Tsutakawa."
It is 12 feet long, 8 feet tall and 7 feet wide. It will be lit with three halogen bulbs attached to overhang the sculpture.
"It has real positive energy," Berger said. That fits with the area because The Crescent itself is desirable to live in, she said.
Mehlman said The Crescent was designed with its future art in mind.
"We're not plopping down a piece of art on the sidewalk," he said. The Crescent will really be finished once the art is there.
The soiree planned next week is an effort to introduce the completed area to Clayton, Berger said.
Mehlman declined to specify how much the sculpture cost.
"It's very expensive," he said.
Berger said it's exciting to have Tsutakawa's work in Clayton. He has never before created a piece of art for use in the Midwest.
"I think what we all feel is a sense of accomplishment," she said.
Mehlman said he is "extremely proud" to see work at The Crescent culminate with the sculpture.