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