Mertens Sponsor Book Sculpture as Part of Art and Literature Initiative

Posted: May 1, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Catherine Ferraro

You might remember strolling through the streets of Washington, D.C., a few years ago and seeing four-foot tall sculptures of donkeys and elephants as part of the Party Animals project. Or you may have turned a corner and come face-to-face with a giant panda as part of the PandaMania project. These projects not only provided a showcase for local artists and benefitted good causes, but they also engaged the entire community.

As part of a first-time initiative called Art in the Pages by the Fairfax Library Foundation, a four-foot sculpture of an open book leaning against two closed books was installed on the Fairfax Campus on Tuesday, April 29, on the plaza between Mason Hall and the Center for the Arts.

Mason President Alan Merten and his wife, Sally, sponsored the sculpture. It will remain on the plaza until November, at which time it will be moved to a permanent location near the Patriot Center.

Sally Merten and others with book sculpture
Sally Merten, above, far left, and President Alan Merten sponsored the book sculpture. With Mrs. Merten are, from left, Mike Suggs of Southland Concrete; Joan Kane, chair of the Library Foundation; Paula Koeck, director of the Library Foundation; and Roberta Longworth, executive director of the Library Foundation.

Mason’s sculpture, titled “Path to Glory,” represents Mason’s men’s basketball run to the Final Four in 2006. Artists William and Barbara Gordon of Gordon Graphics painted it.

“Alan and I were thrilled to be able to participate in the sponsorship of the first ever Art in the Pages public art initiative in Fairfax County,” says Sally Merten. “By having the book sculpture on Mason’s campus, we all play a part in supporting public art and literature.”

The initiative, which has been in the making for two years, is modeled after the District of Columbia’s PandaMania and Party Animals projects.

book sculpture
Photos by Evan Cantwell

The book sculpture is one of many that will be on display outside libraries, schools and businesses in Fairfax County and the City of Fairfax throughout the summer.

The sculptures weigh nearly 600 pounds and were made by Tivoli Too, which also supplied works for similar projects in the District of Columbia and across the country.

Arts in the Pages is intended to promote public art and literature in Fairfax County. The project will also bring the community together through three major annual mid-year county events: the Fairfax County Public Library’s Summer Reading Program, All Fairfax Reads and the Fall for the Book festival held at Mason in September.

For more information about the Art in the Pages project and to see images of the book sculptures, visit the Fairfax Library Foundation web site.

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