Artists creates sculpture that serves as public art and a downtown wayfinding sign

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FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — Residents and visitors to downtown Frederick will soon spot a towering new art piece along Carroll Creek. 

From dusk to dawn, artist Thomas Sterner is working outside his Westminster studio to assemble his latest larger-than-life sculpture.

“It’s going to be a wow-factor for sure because of its size, because of it’s brightness, you can see the sun rays dancing off of it. You definitely can’t walk by it and ignore it,” Sterner said of the artwork. 

The sculpture reaches about 14-feet in height and is constructed out of stainless steel. Sterner says welding the pieces together and refining the surface gives it a unique look when it touches the light.

 All together, the steel towers creates a scenery of water lilies, like those found in Carroll Creek.

“I have [the flowers] perked so that they’re not open fully but show promise of being open,” Sterner said.

The sculpture will soon rest at the intersection of Market Street and Carroll Creek Linear Park. The vision here is for the sculpture to not only serve as a public art piece but as a wayfinding tool.

“Carroll Creek is an amazing amenity that we have in our downtown but since it’s a long linear park, for visitors and sometimes locals alike, it’s a little confusing–where the is park? Where is the park not? And so this helps guide you and direct you into the park,” explained executive director of the Downtown Frederick Partnership, Kara Norman. 

The project is spearheaded by the partnership and aims to create a “highly visible, recognizable, and welcoming gateway to the park,” according to the organization’s application to the City of Frederick Public Arts Commission.

After delays due to the coronavirus pandemic, the project was approved by the city. 

For sterner, who spent several years primarily as a gallery artist, he says the public art piece is exciting exposure.

“With public sculpture, everyone sees it. That’s very gratifying to have you work seen by such a large population, and especially if it’s appreciated,” Sterner said. 

The sculpture is expected to be installed along Carroll Creek in mid-September. 

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