Railside Sculptures Vanish

(Photo Credit: Dana Jelinek)  Tom Ziller and his team on a day of sculpture installations in 2022
(Photo Credit: Dana Jelinek) Tom Ziller and his team on a day of sculpture installations in 2022

[GRAND ISLAND, NE April 22, 2024]  Sculptures are vanishing throughout the Railside district. But there is no cause for concern. It’s just a sign that a new sculpture exhibit is coming.

Sculpture Walk Railside organizer, Tom Ziller, is scheduling artists to pick up sculptures that were featured in the 2023-2024 exhibit. Plus, he is scheduling additional artists who are bringing their sculptures for the upcoming exhibit.

“It’s a chaotic time,” said Dana Jelinek, who organizes the event with Ziller. “People think about the sculptures that are either coming or going, but don’t realize that arrivals and departures are happening at the same time.”

The 2023-2024 exhibit had twelve sculptures. Another thirteen are arriving for this year’s exhibit. During the two to three weeks of transition, Ziller works with artists moving the sculptures, and installing them. Because many of the artists participate in multiple sculpture walks, they sometimes deliver sculptures to Ziller’s work and entrust him to do the installation.

Ziller has to prepare the bases which sometimes means moving them to different locations, because sculpture sizes are never consistent. To do this, he needs trailers, forklifts, welding equipment and other tools. Larger sculptures may even require a telehandler, which is a large, telescoping forklift.

“Ziller is the perfect man for the job,”said Jelinek. “As an artist and someone who works with fragile stones, he knows how to handle all the sculptures and the equipment.” 

Rental of equipment is one of the expenses of the sculpture walk, but the biggest expense is the stipends paid to artists. The organizers’ goal is to sell at least one piece a year, which would garner a 25% commission helping fund the exhibit.

Sculpture Walk Railside annually seeks donations from the public to offset costs. In its third year, the exhibit is now seeking funds through Go Big Give. Donors may give any amount over $10, with Sculpture Walk Railside’s goal during the fundraiser set at $5,000.

As an enticement for donors, those who give during Go Big Give will be entered into a drawing. One donor will be drawn for a private tour for a group of up to 15 people.

On June 6, Nebraska Public Media will feature Sculpture Walk Railside as part of a Grand Island event. Three local sculptors who have participated in the sculpture walk will be on hand to share their knowledge. A public tour will also be available.

Mike Fluent, one of the artists who will present said, “Sculpture walks are a wonderful way to expose the public to a wide variety of subject matter and mediums. By exhibiting outside, artists are not constrained by walls and specific lighting, which makes them free to be more creative.” 

"We're very fortunate to be able to bring a variety of art to Railside,” said Jelinek. “We hear positive comments and appreciate the donors who make it possible.”

To give during Go Big Give, visit gobiggive.org/organization/SculptureWalkRailside.

To learn more about the exhibit, contact the Railside office at 308-398-7022 or email [email protected]