The NOTO Arts and Entertainment District unveiled its newest sculpture Thursday night, and according to the artist, Ptr Sponseller, he created it with the district in mind.
“I wanted something that kind of represented the district,” Sponseller said. “That’s why the shape of it is supposed to be the burning passion of all the people for the district. Then all the different little round things represent all of the different people of the district.”
“Bending Boundaries” sits at the corner of N.E. Gordon Street and Central Avenue. Its shape can be interpreted as a large flame that twists and bends.
The large sculpture, which took Sponseller about nine months to complete, is made of car and motorcycle parts, nuts, washers and electrical scrap.
The color of the art piece is rusted, but Sponseller said it didn’t start out that way.
“These were all clean when I started nine months ago,” Sponseller said. “I didn’t really wash any of the oil off some of the pieces on purpose. I kind of let them stay a little dirty and I think that’s actually allowing it to change.”
Sponseller said he doesn’t care if people love or hate his sculpture — it should just make people think.
“I guess as long as they are feeling something, it doesn’t make a difference to me what it is,” Sponseller said. “Even if they hate it, I still own a little piece of real estate in their head for that minute.”
Thomas Underwood, executive director of NOTO, said the sculpture is a good reflection of how the arts district has pushed boundaries.
“I just think NOTO has always kind of been that area that is like, ‘Hey, let’s give it a shot.’ Would every part of Topeka embrace that (sculpture) on the corner? Probably not, but it works well down here. You look at the art center and that eclectic, funky chandelier and the industrial floors. That’s not people’s vision typically of what an event center should look like, but we are like, ‘Yeah, it works down here.’
“I think we are constantly looking at ways that we can push the boundaries a little, but of not only geography, but also just the concepts.”