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Columbus Makes Art Presents: Sculptor Virginia Overton on Her Work in the Main Library’s New Park Plaza

Gregg Dodd Gregg Dodd Columbus Makes Art Presents: Sculptor Virginia Overton on Her Work in the Main Library’s New Park PlazaSifting through marble pieces. See artist Virginia Overton's work at the Grand Opening of the new Columbus Metropolitan Library main branch on Saturday, June 25, 2016. Photo courtesy of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.
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After a 16-month renovation, Columbus Metropolitan Library is opening its Main Library on Saturday, June 25 with a series of free public events. Also to be unveiled is a newly commissioned sculpture by Virginia Overton, which will serve as the focal point of the new Park Plaza connecting the library to Topiary Park. We checked in with Overton to find out more about the artist.

Gregg Dodd: Describe your path to becoming an artist.

Virginia Overton, sculpture artist.

Virginia Overton, sculpture artist.

Virginia Overton: I am from middle Tennessee, from a very pragmatic family. When I was younger, I tried many jobs before deciding to become an artist. It was important that I find a career that I felt contributed to society. I wasn’t sure if making art would provide that path. My decision to become an artist was made for me; there was not anything else I felt good about doing. It created structure and purpose.

Gregg: How did you get your start?
Virginia: I attended the University of Memphis to study art in a broad program of study—first in the BFA and later MFA program—that exposed me to every aspect of art making, from turning wood to welding and ceramics. I ran the foundry at school and gained exposure to all aspects of craft and building. Whether inside or out, I try to consider the surrounding space and environment. These things have an impact on the piece or installation that I make in terms of the materials that I use as well as the scale of the work.

Gregg: Has there been a defining moment in your career?
Virginia: I think the defining moment of my career was the actual decision to be an artist.

Gregg: Tell us about the piece you created for Main Library.
Virginia: The work for Main Library is untitled. It is made from white Danby marble veneer salvaged from the facade of the 1991 addition of the building.

Gregg: What can library customers expect when they see it? How should it make them feel?
Virginia: I do not direct how viewers interpret the work nor can I dictate how they feel about it. My intention was to make a work for the plaza area that created a visual transition from the formal built architecture of the library into the landscape of the park behind the building, highlighting the beauty of a material that was formed naturally over thousands of years by the earth.

Gregg: What does art mean to you? Why is it important?
Virginia: Art as language is another form of communication.

Gregg: What would you say to children who may be interested in becoming artists?
Virginia: If you enjoy making art, then you are an artist.

See Virginia’s work at the Grand Opening of the new Columbus Metropolitan Library main branch on Saturday, June 25.

Columbus Makes Art Presents is a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council – supporting art and advancing culture in Columbus. The column is a project of the Art Makes Columbus campaign, telling the inspiring stories of the people and organizations who create Columbus art. Each column will be written by a different local arts organization to give you an insiders look at how #artmakescbus.

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