Extensive community engagement helped decide the elements of the design of this artwork, funded by an NEA “Our Town” grant. Measuring 14’ high, two interactive, kinetic sculptures combine large music box elements with analog, radial Moire animations of a pulsing star, each powered by a hand crank. The star motif references the unique history of the neighborhood, where tunnels from the Underground Railroad still exist. Slaves were guided by the North Star to find their way to freedom. Wowhaus Design (Sebastopol, CA) initiated a unique collaborative fabrication, working with historic companies known for their craftsmanship: Cinncinnati’s Verdin Bells & Clocks (Est. 1842), Rookwood Pottery, (Est. 1880) and Reuge (Est. 1864)– the renowned Swiss manufacturer of music boxes. Community members – including children who participated in the community engagement – will be the “community experts,” able to decipher and share the stories behind the artwork design, fostering a unique sense of ownership for the community.
Designed by Wowhaus Design, Commissioned by: Artworks Cincinnati; Fabrication: The Verdin Company (engineering and fabrication of sculpture housing and gearing); Reuge (enigineering and fabrication of music boxes); Rookwood Pottery; KVO Industries Inc.