The Alpena Bi-Path offers modern art, a look at Alpena’s past | News, Sports, Jobs
ALPENA – The Alpena Bi-Path presents a variety of modern works of art rooted in Alpena’s rich history.
According to a booklet provided by the Thunder Bay Arts Council, the Alpena Bi-Path was created in 1974 to celebrate the country’s bicentennial.
Thunder Bay Arts Council member Professor Tim Kuehnlein said the Bi-Path’s name was actually created by schoolchildren.
Kuehlein said the current project, Art Vision Alpena Project, is a revival of an original plan from the 1970s.
In 1974, the Arts Council, the city and the Besser Foundation worked to create the Bi-Path in honor of the 200th anniversary of the country’s Declaration of Independence, according to Kuehnlein.
“The idea was to build a bi-path from the college campus and the museum to the port and the idea was to populate it with sculptures along the way,” Kuehnlein said.
Kuehnlein said he created a sculpture in 1978, but after that the sculptures faded.
“They probably ran out of resources and energy because they kept building the Bi-Path,” he said.
Sculptures have been added over the past five years, the most recent being the dedicated “Regatta Sails” erected in October 2021. The artist for this sculpture was Ann Gildner who has created other sculptures in the past. One of the sculptures she contributed to was “The Departure of the Great Blue Herons”, built in 2017 in Duck Park across from Alpena Hospital.
At the inauguration of ‘Regatta Sails’, Thunder Bay Arts members mentioned having completed 14 sculptures in the past five years and their new sculpture plan runs until 2026. The first sculpture, in 2022, is completed. will be called “Water in Limestone” by artist Autumn Bildson.
Other Bi-Path sculptures include the Lumberjack Statue outside Alpena Community College erected in the 1960s, the ‘History of Industry’ sculptures erected in 2018, and the Covered Bridge and Duck Park Water Tower and Island Park, erected in 2015.
Kuehlein said most of the artists are local or have ties to the Alpena area.
Creating and dedicating sculptures is not a single organizational project, but there are many organizations and groups all over Alpena contributing to the projects.
Anne Gentry, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority, said the city has really been supportive of art installations and other projects.
“I guess it depends on the group that wants to do some kind of art installation, but the city has really supported these projects in the past,” said Gentry. “So if it’s on public property owned by the city or, like, a park or something like that, usually those entities get approval from the city or apply to city council. We have also had art installations or monuments that have gone to private property and in this case they just coordinate with the owner of that property.
Gentry also said that it depends on how much core work is done on a project for the length of time it takes.
“So if we had, for example, a property that was going to receive a memorial or a monument or a piece of art or something like that, if all the pieces were already included in terms of chronology… usually that’s pretty quick. as long as that plan is there for maintenance and installation and stuff, ”Gentry said.
Gentry said it depends on the artist and the style for how long the sculpture or artwork is created. For example, Mango’s Tequila Bar’s mural, “Make A Splash for Art: Community Mural Project”, originally completed in 2016, took over a year.
“Mango’s was a pretty long process,” said Gentry, “Because Art in the Loft did that one, and they raised money for that and they worked with the artist to incorporate the community into it. painting the fish, so it took a year and a long process to put it in place, then install it and then paint it.
She also added that most of the murals artists painted downtown only took two or three days of painting.
As you drive and cycle around town, be sure to stop and enjoy the history and artistry of the Alpena Bi-Path, which has been made possible by many community members and organizations.