By BETH ALTENA Fans of Rockford sculptor Steve Anderson may not know him by face or in person, but people visiting Rockford can hardly not see the results of his work. Perhaps most visible are the fish at the Rockford dam. Large, abstract, gleaming and clean of line, they undoubtably add to the charm of our riverfront setting. Likewise, the Rockford ram at North Rockford Middle School is striking and a symbol of school pride and east of town on Ten Mile Road a large rose at the entrance of the Villas of Rosewood. Now, visitors the new Tanger Mall opening at 84th Street at the U.S.131 exit will see his most recent efforts, works that are the result of 40 years of working metals of all kinds. Anderson was commissioned to create a trio of sails representing an abstract sailboat, as well as a grouping of seagulls for the mall. The sails are now installed on cement pads at the new shopping venue and will grace the facility for the forseeable future. Stainless steel, the sculptures are nearly impervious to wear, making the medium Anderson’s favorite in which to work. Like the fish at the dam and the ram at NRMS, the sculptures will never rust and are nearly indestructible, unlike other metals, like copper and brass, which can rust or change colors. Anderson’s efforts give the surface of the sails a unique finish, an optical illusion which makes the metal appear to have depth. Eerily, the finish gives the hard metal a look of fluidity, a finish Anderson achieved by buffing the metal multiple times in different directions. The trio represent a sailboat’s mainsail, jibsail and spinnaker sail. Anderson knows sails well, having sailed 30 years ago and again now after purchasing a catamaran a few months ago. “I already know how wind blows in the sails,” he said of his efforts to duplicate the effect on stainless steel. “I love working in stainless steel. It’s a lot more work but when its one it’s impervious to anything. It’s the lowest maintenance.” Anderson said he doesn’t always work in stainless steel, but enjoys the effects you can achieve with it. The level of steel he uses is the most expensive, 304 is standard […]
Just in time for Holy Week for one West Michigan church by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL In 2009 the church family of Cornerstone United Methodist Church of Caledonia moved into their beautiful new church home at the intersection of 84th Street and Kalamazoo Avenue. From humble beginnings in 1990, in the basement of Pastor Brad Kalajainen and wife Colleen’s home, Cornerstone has grown to a church family of some 1,100 members with weekly Saturday evening and Sunday morning services now approaching 2,000 attendees. The new church facility was created as an engaging and welcoming facility that would become a destination for the community. Toward that end they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Designed and constructed in a contemporary/industrial style, the Cornerstone facility was meant to be nontraditional and flexible, demonstrating stewardship through the wise use of resources and respect for the environment. Set back from the busy intersection, the building lacked the look of a traditional church, prompting the church’s administrative council to look for a visible symbol to identify the building’s purpose to the countless hundreds of daily passersby. A decision was made to erect a large, prominent cross in the center of the circular driveway in the front of the church. Not just any cross, mind you, but a cross to be designed to mirror the image of Cornerstone’s logo—that being a slightly tilted cross “meant to convey the church’s personal style of being more casual and less rigid,” said church member Jay Brooks, the logo’s designer. Enter Rockford metal sculptor Steve Anderson of Anderson’s Metal Sculpture, who was brought to the church’s attention by Rockford resident and Cornerstone member Tracy Bowers, Cornerstone’s director of outreach and coordinator for the cross project. Squire readers will recognize Anderson as the creator of, among other notable sculptures, “Water Dance”—the depiction of three leaping fish that grace the face of Rockford’s Rogue River Dam. Locally, other prominent Anderson’s sculptures are the “Tom Brown Fire Hawk” located at the front entrance of the Cedar Springs High School football stadium and “The Rockford Fighting Ram” at the front entrance of North Rockford Middle School. Quickly recognizing Anderson’s genius, the church commissioned the sculptor to design and create a gleaming and textured-surface, stainless steel cross. Church leaders embraced […]
by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Recently the City of Rockford installed a plaque recognizing Steve Anderson of Anderson’s Metal Sculpture. Squire readers will recall last May’s installation of the beautiful stainless steel “Water Dance” sculpture on the face of the Rockford Dam. Located above the three-fish sculpture, the plaque honors the sculptor for his work of art and his generous donation of all labors in bringing “Water Dance” to life. Also recognized were the Downtown Development Authority, the Rockford Area Arts Commission, and the City of Rockford for their financial support in part. “Water Dance” has transformed the face of the dam and has been enjoyed by countless visitors since its installation. An informal survey conducted by The Rockford Squire following the installation indicates that most viewers believe the cement wall background of the sculpture should be painted to showcase and make “Water Dance” more highly visible. In viewing the sculpture from the dam overlook or the Bridge Street bridge, one finds the work of art blending into the background. A background color suggested most often was “flat black.” Most believed that the gleaming stainless steel fish would really “pop” leaping against a black background. What do you think? Call the Squire office at (616) 866-4465 and give us your opinion.
Pool used by many for health Dear Editor, We have heard a rumor that the swimming pool housed at the Rockford Middle School is to be closed due to lack of funds. It is my understanding that this is a “community” pool, for which 1 mil was voted in by the public for maintenance of this pool. For health reasons a lot of us go twice a week or more fo water aerobics. We are senior citizens trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We would be at a loss if this pool closes, especially with the millage already voted in for this. I truly hope someting can be done to prevent this closure. Marilyn J. Cole, Rockford resident Don’t close school pool Dear Editor, I and about 10 to 12 others swim twice a week at the North Rockford Middle School pool in the “Aqua-Flex” class. This is primarily attended by those who use this as a rehabilitation following surgery and for those who just want to keep mobile. It has been mentioned that the school is intending to close this pool due to finances and hold the classes at the high school. This is very unfavorable to our group who need the warmer water as the high school pool is very cool. I remember that when this school was built the Krause family donated the pool. However, the taxpayers voted to pay the necessary costs for maintenance. If this is still happening, why does the pool have to be closed? Please, school board members, reconsider this motion. Bonnie Miller, Belmont resident REF concert expected to sell out Dear Editor, Cliff and Nancy, this is AMAZING! I LOVE the article and I am so grateful to you both for writing it. You two certainly have a gift for writing. Tickets have been selling very well, and once this edition of the Squire reaches Rockford residents, I will expect a sell-out by mid December. Thank you so very much. Sue Arend, Rockford Education Foundation Anderson thanks Squire Dear Editor, I must tell you, I’ve had countless writings done about my work and myself over the last 34 years. And it’s not just because this sculpture is so grand on so many scales and will have an impact on so […]