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Area artists, sponsors saddle up for public art project

By Staff
PAINT ME Ellen Riley, an artist at Cartmell Gallery, shows one of the carousel horses that will be painted and placed on permanent display in Meridian. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie/The Meridian Star
Aug. 22, 2001
A stampede of horses is headed for Meridian.
Fiberglass carousel horses, that is. Twelve of them, measuring 5 feet by 4 feet 11 inches and manufactured by a company in Illinois, soon will appear around Meridian and Lauderdale County.
One of the carousel horses was expected to be unveiled this morning at a news conference at the gallery formally announcing the project called "Around Town Carousels Abound."
Martin and Meridian resident Jamie Cater were separately toying with the idea of starting up a public art project, when Cater overheard Martin talking about it on the telephone at the gallery. So the two women joined forces.
The project was first announced at Arts in the Park this year, the annual arts and crafts show at Highland Park. T-shirts and prints by local photographer-artist Dwight Coleman, depicting carousel animals flying into the night from the Dentzel Carousel, have been used for promotion.
Any individual or business can sponsor a carousel horse at a cost of $2,500. The money provides a $250 stipend for the artist who paints the horse; it also pays for the cost and installation of the horse as well as a plaque displaying the horse's name, sponsor and artist.
Sponsors of carousel horses to date include Bonita Lakes Mall, Long Wholesale, Meyer and Rosenbaum Insurance, Meridian Airport Authority, Meridian Coca-Cola Bottling, Meridian Council for the Arts, Riley Hospital, Alfred and Lucy Rosenbaum, Rush Foundation Hospital and Structural Steel.
Sponsors can have their carousel horse displayed at their business, or let it be placed at another location within the city.
Painted, sculptured animals can be seen in many cities, including life-size cows in Chicago and New York and fish in New Orleans. Other animals also are on display in Cincinnati, Houston and Kansas City.
Table-top carousel horses, painted by artists, celebrities and dignitaries, will be auctioned at a gala at the Dentzel Carousel in the spring. All proceeds will go to Hope For Children.
Steve Gillespie is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3233, or e-mail him at sgillespie@themeridianstar.com.