Visitors to Central Ohio will not be confined to the golf course when searching for ways to engage in The Presidents Cup.
In preparation for the golf tournament, hosted at the Muirfield Village Golf Course from Tuesday through Oct. 6, the City of Dublin has commissioned two public art installations to be displayed throughout the duration of the international tournament.
One of the projects, 18 Drives Through Dublin, features 18 larger-than-life golf balls decorated by various sponsoring organizations and is a exhibit celebrating golf, art and local business presence in major city events.
“The concept of having a public art project, like the golf balls, was presented in several ways over the years,” Sandra Puskarcik, director of community relations for the city of Dublin, said in an email.
Several cities across the United States have created public art exhibits that feature an iconic figure decorated by local organizations, artists and businesses. In 2008, Ohio State launched Brutus on Parade, offering sponsors a chance to design and display a Brutus statue on campus in an effort to fund the renovation of the Thompson Library.
Dublin’s 18 Drives were formally presented at The Presidents Cup Plaza dedication in BriHi Square Sept. 12. Since then, the sculptures have gained popularity over social media, Puskarcik said.
“The golf balls have created a buzz in the community, not just about the sculptures themselves but also about The Presidents Cup,” Puskarcik said.
Dublin is known for its internationally recognized Art in Public Places program, according to Dublin Arts Council’s website.
“Public art is important to Dublin, so it was natural for us to think about how we could celebrate The Presidents Cup through public art,” Puskarcik said. “It’s truly a part of the fabric of our community.”
Funded by local businesses and organizations, the sculptures featured in the 18 Drives Through Dublin exhibit are placed around the city.
“Residents and visitors alike are having fun with photos and tours,” Puskarcik said. “On any given evening, you will see people gathered at the corner of Bridge and High streets where The Presidents Cup golf ball is displayed in front of five flags — United States, Ohio, Dublin, The Presidents Cup and the International Flag. It’s become the place for a ‘Kodak moment.’”
18 Drives Through Dublin is set to remain on display through the 2014 Memorial Tournament — also held at Dublin’s Muirfield Village Golf Course — in May 2014.
Playing Through , a golf-inspired decorated piano, has been making its rounds throughout the Columbus area, encouraging musical expression through innovative street art.
“Playing Through is hopefully the first of many street pianos for Dublin. We are excited to launch this project while our streets are filled with visitors and guests from within our community and throughout the world,” Puskarcik said. “The success of Playing Through will help us determine the next best steps for future street pianos.”
The piano was designed by Eliza Ho and her husband, Tim Lai, who founded ALTernative, a local non-profit artist group, in 2011.
“ALTernative started out as something my husband and I really wanted to do for the neighborhood. We are architects and designers, so we always want to promote the use of art and design,” Ho said.
The original idea of creating a decorated piano, an artistic infusion of street culture and musical expression popular in many cities around the world like England. The Dublin Arts Council supported the concept and began the search for a design team that could make the vision a reality.
ALTernative’s dedication to community involvement through unique forms of artistic expression complemented the piano project.
“I always have had a special affection for playing piano,” Ho said. “(My husband and I) believe that music is a universal language. It can bring people together. And on top of that, you add art to it. So it created a conversation piece and people will just naturally gather together. We really liked the idea of an interactive art piece.”
Ho, working along with others at ALTernative, based the design of the piano off of a survey made available to Dublin residents.
“We thought that the piano had the power to represent Dublin. We asked (residents) what two things they would want to introduce to a visitor who came to Dublin,” Ho explained. “The Scioto River got many votes.”
Incorporating the survey results into the final design, ALTernative produced a colorful pattern — blue circles dotting a bright white background — indicative of the Scioto river waters, as well as the unmistakable shape of golf balls.
“The piano itself is beautiful. We had an artist (Joss Parker) who painted it. Tim and I came up with the idea and created the design for the mural on the piano. Then we hired (Parker) to put the design on the piano,” Ho said.
Upon completion, the piano began its extensive tour around Columbus, including a stop at OSU’s RPAC. ALTernative and the Dublin Arts Council encourage musicians of all skill levels to try their hand at the keys.
“I think (the public) feels as if (Playing Through) is very friendly. It doesn’t present itself as ‘high art.’ It is very approachable, which is the purpose of the piano. We want people to play it, we don’t want to intimidate people,” Ho said. “We were also inspired by pop art. We don’t want to make it too difficult to understand.”
Playing Through will continue to travel to various locations in Columbus and Dublin throughout the week of The Presidents Cup. Following the tournament, the piano will become a part of Dublin’s Art in Public Places program and will be placed at various locations and events throughout the year.