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Local

'Park mascot' finds a home along riverfront

City will buy one of the Art in the Park scultpures

Gregory Mendez of Decatur, Indiana, stands next to his sculpture, "Nemesis," on Sept. 8 at RB&W District Park in Rock Falls. The piece is one of 10 that’s been on loan to the park since last year for its Art in the Park display, and now it will become the park’s “mascot.”  The Rock Falls tourism committee has decided to buy the piece for $12,500.  "Nemesis is a stunning piece, and it just kind of fell into our lap," tourism chairman Jim Schuneman said. "So, I think that's a purchase we can make and have it a central part of that park."
Gregory Mendez of Decatur, Indiana, stands next to his sculpture, "Nemesis," on Sept. 8 at RB&W District Park in Rock Falls. The piece is one of 10 that’s been on loan to the park since last year for its Art in the Park display, and now it will become the park’s “mascot.” The Rock Falls tourism committee has decided to buy the piece for $12,500. "Nemesis is a stunning piece, and it just kind of fell into our lap," tourism chairman Jim Schuneman said. "So, I think that's a purchase we can make and have it a central part of that park."

ROCK FALLS – An artist’s Nemesis is about to become a park’s best friend.

The Rock Falls Tourism Committee decided Wednesday to buy one of the sculptures that has been parked along the city’s riverfront since September. The city will pay $12,500 for what tourism director Megan Horsman described as “the park’s mascot” – an angelic visitor that goes by the name of Nemesis.

Nemesis is one of 10 pieces installed in RB&W District Park as part of the city’s inaugural Art in the Park exhibit. The self-guided tour is designed to promote art and provoke thought, and provide another draw for the park.

Now, the angel’s tour of duty is being extended for good.

“Nemesis is a stunning piece, and it just kind of fell into our lap,” tourism chairman Jim Schuneman said. “So, I think that’s a purchase we can make and have it be a central part of that park.”

Nemesis, created by Indiana artist Gregory Mendez, is an angel dressed in a blue, strapless form-fitting dress with her wings spread and her hand and face pointed toward the sky.

It’s likely the sculpture will remain in the park, but Horsman said she thinks it’s a good idea to move any future art purchases around the city, so more people can enjoy the pieces.

City Administrator Robbin Blackert said the money for the purchase will come from capital development funds and suggested the city include residents in any future purchases through a voting process. One idea would be to let people cast a vote for a buck.

Horsman also spoke about an Art in the Park app visitors can use to access the background story for each piece on display as well as information about each piece’s artist.

Chicago artist Charles Yost organized the exhibit to turn the park into an outdoor art studio, with the goal of having have different artists display their work on a rotating basis, with new pieces brought in each September for a year-long visit to the park. With each new installation, the city will hold what it’s described as a “gala event of great music, fine wines, craft beers and gorgeous, thought-provoking art.”​

The Second Art in the Park is scheduled for 2 to 7 p.m. Sept. 7 at RB&W District Park, 301 E. Second St.

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