The Feather:
Public Art at Presque Isle By Artist Angelo Ciotti

Angelo Ciotti's The Feather: Public Art at Presque Isle
Photos by Bob Lowry, Lowry Photography

Since its creation in 1990, the Public Art Committee has worked to facilitate the creation and placement of public art in Erie County. Its mission, aimed at improving the quality of the visual environment, derives from the group's origins as a breakout from the community Projects Committee of the Erie Excellence Council.

Now the Erie Art Museum and The Public Art Committee have made a permanent contribution to the visual environment in Erie, Pennsylvania. The Feather: Public Art at Presque Isle is a functional piece of art. About seventy feet long, this wooden ramp in the shape of a feather rises six feet high to an 18-foot square deck with a circular bench. The Feather, designed by environmental artist Angelo Ciotti of Pittsburgh, is located on the east side of the neck of Presque Isle State Park. A poem about humanity's relationship with nature, and images of various animals, are carved into the deck. Visitors are able to stroll onto the ramp, sit on the bench, and view the cove and Presque Isle Bay beyond.

Angelo Ciotti received his MA from Rosary College School of Fine Arts in Florence, Italy. He has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions and has received numerous commissions and grants including several from the National Endowment of the Arts. As Ciotti says, the Feather is "integrated into the environment and eventually the vegetation will engulf it." A key objective of the project was to create a pragmatic piece of art that could be enjoyed by the public, but have minimal impact on Presque Isle's environment. The design was unanimously approved by the Presque Isle Advisory Committee in November 1995. The Feather: Public Art at Presque Isle was commissioned by the Erie Art Museum in collaboration with the Public Art Committee, with the cooperation of the Presque Isle Advisory Board and Pennsylvania State Parks.

Angelo Ciotti's The Feather: Public Art at Presque Isle

Major contributors to the Feather project include The Sweny Family, The Erie Community Foundation, the County of Erie, Times Publishing Company, Crowner/King Architects, David M. Laird and Associates, Urban Engineers, Dahlkemper Landscape Architects and Contractors, Drs. Reichel and Reichel, Schick Matts Corp., Mazza Wineries, Lignitech, The Vicary Foundation, GPU Energy, Health South, Eat 'n Park, Blue Cross of Western Pennsylvania, Marketplace Grill, Championship Bolt, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Hamot Medical Center, and PNC Bank. Thanks also to Al Marschke, The Hampton Inn, Gohrs Printing, Mike Jefferys, Lowry Photography, Bianchi Honda, Inc., Kim and Nick Scott, Mr. and Mrs. John Doyle, Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Pysh, Engel Fritts Hanna and O'Neill, Inc.

Volunteers who worked on the installation include Vlado Benden, Gene Brenning, Richard Brown, Frank Fratus, Kim Krynock Hanrahan, Daryl Panko, John St. George, Glen Sementelli, Dan Spires, John Vanco and Dave Watkins. Special thanks to the students of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh: Eric Staffrued, Tremayne Harer, and Kevin Molloy.

In 1994 and 1995, the Public Art Committee coordinated ARTSCAPE: An Outdoor Invitational Exhibition of Works by Regional Artists. Through the project the committee placed 21 public artworks, including sculptures and billboards, in temporary sites throughout Erie county. ARTSCAPE followed up on the successful completion of the mural Strength Through People, which honored notable local senior citizens and was created by artist/community muralist Kristin Reed.

The Public Art Committee is comprised of  Richard Reichel II (co-chairman), Dave Skellie, Nan Means, Dan Dahlkemper, Jeff Spaulding, Judy Kubeja, John Vanco (co-chairman), Bob Lowry, Angelo Ciotti,  Kim Peden, Jodi D'Angelo Farrell, Marty Hoenes, and Lisa Louis.