After the Walk-N-Wander VIP reception Thursday evening, donors were invited to walk through downtown and to Central Park to view the 16 Seward Johnson statues. Pictured are Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer (L), Dan Robinson (C) and Jill Thallemer (R) admiring ‘Unconditional Surrender’ by the war memorial on the courthouse lawn at the corner of Center and Lake streets. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
After the Walk-N-Wander VIP reception Thursday evening, donors were invited to walk through downtown and to Central Park to view the 16 Seward Johnson statues. Pictured are Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer (L), Dan Robinson (C) and Jill Thallemer (R) admiring ‘Unconditional Surrender’ by the war memorial on the courthouse lawn at the corner of Center and Lake streets. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
Sixteen Seward Johnson bronze statues have only been in Warsaw since Wednesday but they are already creating a stir.
People are walking around downtown and Central Park to look at them, often taking pictures of them or of themselves with the life-size sculptures. They are admiring the details of each one and asking each other, “How did he do that?”
Thursday evening at City Hall, a VIP reception recognized the businesses and individuals that sponsored the Walk-N-Wander public exhibition of the figures. The statues will remain in Warsaw through Sept. 28.
“We’re here to thank our sponsors. We’re here to recognize our committee and we really want to get outside. The weather is fabulous. It’s a perfect night to take a look at the Walk-N-Wander. It’s only been two days but it’s already causing a big stir,” Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer began.
He had the committee join him in front of the crowd to be recognized for putting the exhibition together. The committee included Michelle Bormet, Darla McCammon, Paula Bowman, Mary Kittrell, Cindy Dobbins, Trina Hoy and Melodie Koher.
“I’m just going to tell you right now: All I said was, ‘yes.’ This group has done everything, led by Michelle. The committee has done it all. They brought you all together. They brought these statues to the community,” Thallemer said. “Watching these statues here the last few days, I think the statues are going to make a lot of friends in this community. I’ve seen some unbelieveable reactions to these statues.”
Thallemer then recognized the “Master Sponsors” with certificates. Each of the Master Sponsors sponsored one of 14 statues. The other two statues in the exhibition were sponsored by the “Arts Partners,” “Arts Patrons” and “Arts Friends.”
“The vast majority of the underwriting cost of this exhibit was because of the generosity of our sponsors,” Thallemer said.
McHatton-Sadler Funeral Chapels sponsored “Unconditional Surrender” at the corner of Center and Lake streets. Tonight at First Friday, John Sadler has organized an “unveiling” of the statue for the veterans in the community. It starts at 5:30 p.m. All county veterans have been invited, Thallemer said.
The statue “Contact” at the corner of Main and Lake streets is sponsored by The Esther Pfleiderer Charitable Trust, represented by John Elliott; “Sidewalk Judge” is sponsored by Winona PVD Coatings LLC and is on the Buffalo Street side of the county courthouse; and Richard and Linda Dilling sponsored “Monet, Our Visiting Artist,” at the corner of Buffalo and Center streets, sitting in front of City Hall facing the courthouse.
Linda told Thallemer that the painting of the county courthouse on the easel with the statue is from a photograph taken by Al Disbro.
“Nice to See You” faces Buffalo Street, while “Sidewalk Concert” is in front of Mad Anthony’s Lake City Taphouse on Center Street. Both were sponsored by a group of arts patrons listed in the exhibition brochure.
“No, Mommy, That One” is sponsored by the Kosciusko County Community Foundation and sits in front of the building at the corner of Market and Buffalo streets. KCCF Executive Director Suzie Light and her husband, Steve, also sponsored “Time’s Up,” which is the cop statue on Buffalo Street.
Miller’s Merry Manor sponsored “Crossing Paths,” which sits at the corner of Buffalo and Market streets across from KCCF.
“Every time I go by that one, I see someone sitting on the bench talking to these ladies,” Thallemer joked.
Kosciusko County Convention, Recreation and Visitor Commission sponsored “God Bless America,” which faces Buffalo Street and is across from City Hall, and “Shaping Up” in Central Park.
“The marketing effort for this exhibition has been incredible. Everywhere you look, everywhere you listen, everywhere you read there’s something about this Walk-N-Wander and a large part is due to the work with the Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Convention and Visitors Commission. So, again, we thank you very much,” Thallemer said.
“Sightseeing,” sponsored by Wes Anglin, Re/Max Lakes, stands across from Mad Anthony’s on Center Street, and a little way down from there on Center Street is “Out of Sight,” sponsored by CenturyLink.
“It’s a really neat statue the way it is sitting over there. You’ll really enjoy that one. Don’t miss it!” Thallemer suggested.
One of Thallemer’s favorites is “Between Appointments,” sponsored by Lake City Bank and sitting across the street from the bank on Center Street. It’s a statue of a gentleman in between appointments catching a nap on a park bench, with a copy of the “Wall Street Journal” on his face.
“I’ve got a lot of favorites. I like a lot of these,” Thallemer said.
Hall & Marose Silveus Agency sponsored “Out to Lunch,” which sits in front of the Old Jail Museum on Indiana Street. It is one of the few statues that doesn’t have any color.
The last statue is “Down to Earth,” sponsored by Denny and Kim Fuller. It is also in Central Park.
Thallemer said there were 250 statues sponsors could choose from for the exhibit.
“This is actually the only Midwest exhibition this summer. But there were other exhibitions in the country and we kind of had to pick from the statues that were available. And I think the ones we got were very nice. I’m very pleased with them,” Thallemer said.
He also thanked many in-kind sponsors: “Everyone’s been so supportive of this project, and I think it’s showing.”
He thanked RR Donnelley for printing 40,000 copies of the Walk-N-Wander brochure at no cost to the city or committee. Terry Julian, of Julien Design Studio, designed the brochure.
Thallemer said, “This brochure really is the centerpiece of this exhibit. It’s been distributed, I think 40,000 of them have been printed, all over Northern Indiana. I think a few of them are across state lines, legally. And then there are many at businesses around ... the map is on here and it’s done very well. Again, thank you, Donnelley for the quality. That was done at no charge to the city.”
He thanked local media, including the Times-Union and Lake City Radio, for spreading the word about the statues. A two-part video of Thallemer’s comments at the reception is available for free on the Times-Union website, www.timesuniononline.com
“We expect the exhibit will attract many visitors to our city during the duration of the exhibit,” Thallemer said.
He reported the CVB dedicated a full page in their 2014 Visitors Guide and partnered with the Regional Visitors Bureau to put a color ad in this Sunday’s Chicago Tribune travel section, with a circulation of 2.1 million. An ad also will appear in the July/August Indiana Travel Guide.
Finally, he said there will be an online contest at the CVB’s website for people to vote for their favorite bronze sculpture.