On Sunday, local artist Carolyn Bedford introduced Chilling by the River, a collaborative public art installation between herself and fellow artist Todd Vassallo.
The installation entails is a statue of a young person, shrouded by a hooded sweatshirt, peering down at a phone. It is only upon closer inspection that spectators realize it has the face of a child. The statue leans against half of a Volkswagen beetle – a portion of the car that includes the seat and functions as a lit viewing bench for the river.
Bedford said the intent of carving the statue that way was to get the message across that “technology is ageless,” and that “you don’t always get what you see, and it’s not only what you see,” in public art.
“The piece is to enjoy – to sit and enjoy what goes on, on the river,” said Bedford. She said she and Vassallo were delighted with their work from the outset, hoping that “everyone else would find it as cute as we did,” while they worked on it.
Bedford explained the philosophy behind, and production of, her and Vassallo’s quirky new piece to a small audience at its official introduction on Sunday afternoon at Glasgow Square Theatre.
Bedford noted that Vassallo was unable to attend, because he was up all of the previous night, and most of the night before, working to finish Chilling by the River – he was getting some well-earned sleep.
“To see everyone taking pictures, sitting and enjoying the sculpture – that’s why we do this,” said a delighted Bedford.
The new artwork is more than something to just look at, and admire. The car-portion of the installation lights up at night, with the help of two solar panels on top of it. One planned update to the installation is a USB port to charge phones, so guests will be able chill by the river, themselves.
New Glasgow Mayor Nancy Dicks expressed the gratitude of the town at having such a new piece of artwork to decorate the waterfront. Dicks said the town is “delighted” with Chilling by the River, emphasizing that new art to spruce things up along the river, “is exactly what we need.”