BLINK Artist to Create New Light Sculpture Outside Cincinnati Public Library's Downtown Branch

The artwork, which will be located on the new outdoor plaza, will include "groupings of illuminated stainless steel pillars with changing light patterns."

click to enlarge A rendering of artist Jen Lewin's initial light sculpture concept - PHOTO: PROVIDED BY THE CINCINNATI & HAMILTON COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY
Photo: Provided by the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library
A rendering of artist Jen Lewin's initial light sculpture concept

BLINK is slated to return in 2022, but downtown residents and visitors may soon be able to experience a part of BLINK year-round.

As part of its current Building the Next Generation Library renovation project, the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library is redoing portions of its main branch building downtown and adding a new outdoor plaza . And the library has just selected Brooklyn-based artist Jen Lewin — whose work "The Pool" was featured in the 2017 BLINK festival — to craft a special light installation.

According to the library, Lewin's permanent sculpture "will include groupings of illuminated stainless steel pillars with changing light patterns that will be visible from both outside and inside the building." Library Director Paula Brehm-Heeger says when they were seeking community input about the building renovations and upgrades, many said they wanted to see more works of art.

The library and local art nonprofit ArtWorks put out a call for submissions seeking proposals for the plaza art project. They say 144 applicants from nine countries and 36 states replied. Lewin, who the library says is "internationally known for producing
tech-based artwork which incorporates changes in light intensity and color," was one of three finalists.

“Over the past four months, ArtWorks has worked closely with library leadership, its renovation design team, and gathered community input to find the perfect proposal for the plaza,” said Colleen Houston, ArtWorks CEO and artistic director, in a release. “This will be an important and iconic work of public art in our city.”

click to enlarge A rendering of the main library's new atrium staircase - PHOTO: RENDERING PROVIDED BY THE CINCINNATI PUBLIC LIBRARY
Photo: Rendering provided by the Cincinnati Public Library
A rendering of the main library's new atrium staircase
Lewin's design is not set in stone and the artist will be seeking community input in early 2022 to help "refine her concept to ensure that it represents the Cincinnati and Hamilton County community," says the library.

The completed sculpture is slated to be installed in late 2023, as the larger library renovation project wraps up.

The Building the Next Generation Library project is a decade-long process to upgrade all of Cincinnati and Hamilton County's library branches, funded by taxpayers who voted to pass a levy for the project. The main branch downtown will see skylights and elevators replaced, as well as the addition of a new outdoor plaza and gathering spaces, a "revitalized" atrium with stairs to connect the Walnut Street and Vine Street entrances and a new stairwell to connect the upper floors of the library.

The library recently unveiled completed renovations at its Deer Park branch.

Learn more at cincinnatilibrary.org.


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