Updated: Dec 18, 2020
The last few years has seen the cultivation of a growing collection of downtown public sculpture created by accomplished Michigan artists. Take a walk down Phoenix St. and you will see work near Black River Tavern, Great Lakes Eye Care, Johnny's Lakeside Jewelry, and Taste Restaurant. Each conveys in its own unique way the natural landscape that defines South Haven and the Southwest Michigan coast as envisioned by these artists.
"Summer Breeze" led the way in 2017—a piece fashioned in metal and glass by South Haven sculptor and ArtPrize artist Kathy Kreager that sits in front of Taste Restaurant at the corner of Phoenix and Kalamazoo streets. Mark Toncray, Carolyn Robinson Finks, and John Sauve are the most recent Art On the Town artworks under the auspices of the Grow Your Own Sculpture program.
“Dune Anchor,” by Mark Toncray, was inspired (as are many of his pieces) by "the intersection of our influence upon nature and nature’s influence upon us.” After a thirty-year career as a working artist, Toncray creates spare images that are "stripped of complex techniques" borne of "gesture; almost three-dimensional sketches." Wander down to Black River Tavern, 403 Phoenix St., and you can see what Mark means.
Originally from Chicago, Toncray now lives in Benton Harbor and studied sculpture at Southern Illinois University. He has fabricated pieces for many Chicago-based artists and installed hundreds of sculptures for individual artists and Chicago art expositions. Mark now works as a sculpture conservator and installer with the Harbor Country Public Arts Initiative in New Buffalo, Michigan, and The Krasl Art Center and The Box Factory for the Arts in St. Joseph, Michigan.
“Surround Me with Sun Wind and Water” by Carolyn Robinson Fink of Portage, is in front of Great Lakes Eyecare, 412 Phoenix St. According to Fink, the piece depicts finding purpose and renewal in nature. Fink, a graduate of Kendall College of Art and Design, is a career graphic designer as well as a sculptor of steel. “I hope the person seeing my works might experience a bit of the peace, joy, relief, or hope that I myself feel as I create it.”
Detroit area sculptor John Sauve created “Faust”—named for the mythical German character who sold his soul to the devil in return for “worldly knowledge and pleasure.” The piece is in front of Johnny's Lakeshore Jewelry, 501 Phoenix St. “Faust” is reminiscent of Sauve’s Man in the City sculpture project—forty sculptures installed on rooftops throughout Detroit and Windsor, Canada. Suave has exhibited at the Chicago Sculpture International Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition, the Krasl Biennial Sculpture Exhibition in St Joseph, and created sixteen sculptures for Benton Harbor and St. Joseph in the likeness of Muhammad Ali as part of the I Am the Greatest project, designed to help youth in Southwest Michigan learn about community, art, and creative expression.
Those interested in purchasing one of these pieces for donation to the City of South Haven or for a private collection, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here if you would like to participate in Art On the Town.
"Sun, Wind, and Water" by Carolyn Robinson Fink was purchased by financial planner Paul Hix of the Edward Jones Office of Paul Hix in South Haven. Carolyn's work can be seen in front of Great Lakes Eyecare, 412 Phoenix St.
"Dune Anchor" by Mark Toncray sits in front of Black River Tavern, 403 Phoenix St. "Dune Anchor" is available for purchase.
"Faust" by John Sauve is located in front of Johnny's Lakeshore Jewelry, 501 Phoenix St., and is still available for purchase.
"Summer Breeze" by Kathy Kreager was purchased by the South Haven Downtown Development Association and is located in front of Taste, 402 Phoenix St.
The Grow Your Own Sculpture program is made possible by the South Haven Downtown Development Association.
Visit the South Haven Center for the Arts' Donations page to help the art center continue this tradition of public sculpture in South Haven.