Unveiled in a public ceremony Sept. 23, 1972, a carbon steel sculpture created by Ogden artist David Williamson, a 1966 Jefferson High School alumnus, has occupied the terrace in front of the Jefferson Public Library. Have you ever stopped to look closely at the sculpture and wondered what is the name and meaning of the work?
The sculpture was commissioned by the library and funded by Home State Bank to compliment the library’s 1966 building addition. The sculpture took a year and a half to complete and was one of the first privately-funded public sculptures in Iowa.
The title of the sculpture is “Amid Tassel Stars and a Midnight Rainbow, Costume Feathered Friends Have Rendezvoused to Ride: Twin Moons on the Tongue, a Songbird’s on the Rise, Dancing Bears Announce the Wind and the Egg’s Been Left for Surprise.”
“To appreciate art, one needs to look, then look again and again,” says Williamson. The sculpture stands as a monument to the gentle spirit of life in the Midwest. At the base of the 12-foot-high center structure, two bears dance back to back signaling the entrance of a wind figure at the top of the column. Williamson calls the wind figure “The Muse.” With its hair blown back and face rippling in the wind, she looks tranquil and noble. Steel “totemic images” on either side include a pole that through metamorphosis turns into a rattlesnake with a songbird perched on its neck. A giant white cement egg symbolizes the future and things yet unborn. A fish head with a new moon chained to its mouth stands on either side of the three columns. A black moon and twinkling star attached to the library wall are the background.
Williamson is a professional artist, musician, poet and creative consultant. In more recent years, he has become involved with Project A.W.A.R.E., an Iowa Department of Natural Resources initiative to clean up Iowa’s rivers. Williamson has taken some of the aluminum and steel recovered from the rivers and forged it into gates, called “River Gates,” in the arches of the DNR building on the Iowa State Fairgrounds.
(Source: Des Moines Sunday Register, Nov. 4, 1978.)
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