Osman Akan installs his latest artwork along the shore of Center Lake in Warsaw on Friday. The 13-foot-tall sculpture is spectacular light show lit by the rays of the sun from sunrise to sunset. The piece is one of the finishing touches to the Buffalo Street Plaza and can be seen from many perspectives in the area. Photos by Teresa Carrano, Times-Union
Osman Akan installs his latest artwork along the shore of Center Lake in Warsaw on Friday. The 13-foot-tall sculpture is spectacular light show lit by the rays of the sun from sunrise to sunset. The piece is one of the finishing touches to the Buffalo Street Plaza and can be seen from many perspectives in the area. Photos by Teresa Carrano, Times-Union
A new bird has landed on the shore of Center Lake. It’s a  breathtaking iridescent wonder, the latest stainless steel  and glass sculpture by New York artist Osman Akan. The 13-foot-tall work was installed Friday by Akan and three assistants at the west side dock of the Buffalo Street Plaza in Warsaw.

The piece is so placed it is bathed in the ever-changing sunlight all day and those rays formulate colors that shimmer, change and glow from sunrise to sunset.

Warsaw Public Arts Commission member Suzie Light said, “We knew we wanted something for the  Buffalo Street Plaza to be striking. We looked around for artists who could help put us on the map.”

The commissioners are appointed by Mayor Joe Thallemer and Light said their mission is to secure permanent and temporary art installations in the city.

Akan submitted a piece for Fort Wayne’s RiverWalk and was one of the finalists in a recent competition.

“We loved the piece he suggested for them and we picked up the phone and called him,” Light said. “And he’s a great guy.”

Akan researched the community and designed the as yet unnamed piece. The Turkey-born sculptor works with light as an integral part of his design.

“It’s ever-changing, like our community,” said Light of the commission.

Along with Light, arts committee members are Stephanie Salyer of the Warsaw Community Development Corporation; Justin Taylor, Warsaw City Planner; Paulette Davis, community member; Elisa Wise, Wagon Wheel representative; Sherri Johnson, of the Lakeland Art Association; and Andrea Miller of Warsaw Community Schools.

Adjacent to the Nye Park entrance and the Castaldi Fountain, Akan’s piece joins the sculpture near the park pavilion and at City Hall.

“Bringing the downtown to the lake front has been part of the city’s plan for many, many years,” said city planner Justin Taylor. “We’ll finish up the decking and railing on the dock by mid-May and plan a ribbon cutting at some point in the summer.”

Akan’s work throws out rainbows of light that can be seen from many vantage points in the park and from Fort Wayne Street during the glide down Buffalo toward the new plaza.

Light said the city’s artwork will become part of a virtual tour, too. She added that KEDCo is gathering “all things art” into Google maps which will feature art studios, galleries, art teachers and appraisers.

During Friday’s installation Akan cautioned his helpers to be gentle with the double panes of glass comprising each panel. Oddly enough, he was the one who got a little heavy handed with the torquing tool, which resulted in a cracked pane.

“That will be replaced,” he said of the little accident, although observers kind of liked the shattered look and thought it was intentional.

An award-winning artist, Akan is known for his use of unusual materials and his large scale installations. He has been working with light as a medium, especially with optical fibers, since 2004.

Akan installed his first large public commission utilizing fiber optic systems in Franconia Sculpture Park in Minnesota. In 2007, Akan received a New York State Council on the Arts individual artist grant to create The Third Bridge, a commission for the 40th year celebration of the arts in New York City Parks. Since then he’s had commissions from the City of Denver; Anchorage, Alaska; the State University of New York Institute of Technology; a commissions for the Bicentennial Plaza that is installed in front of the Indiana State House; the Unviversity Of Anchorage; the Griffiss Technology Park in New York as well as proposals for the US. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, for the State Department collection. In addition to the Buffalo Street Plaza piece, he recently completed “Voids” at the new Alameda Library in El Paso, Texas.