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Crystalline Tower by Susan Ewing to be dedicated in Cincinnati Sept. 17

09/11/2006

The Crystalline Tower in the Theodore M. Berry International Friendship Park
The Crystalline Tower, a monument to freedom and friendship at Theodore M. Berry International Friendship Park, will be dedicated at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17. The sculpture was designed by Susan R. Ewing (art) and noted Czech sculptor Vratislav K. Novak for the park on the Cincinnati riverfront.

Cincinnati officials and other speakers will be on hand for the dedication, which is free and open to the public. Ewing and Novak will attend. The Miami University Steel Band, under the direction of senior Justin Jodrey, will perform.

Ewing and graduate students installed the tower last October. More than 80-feet tall, the steel structure with titanium and mica elements is topped with a kinetic, rotating gold-leafed star.

The star represents the North Star, symbol of freedom on the Underground Railroad. Other inspirations, according to Ewing, including Toni Morrison's novel Beloved, a children's story by Jeanette Winter titled "Follow the Drinking Gourd" and St. Exupery's "The Little Prince."

The 16-acre Friendship Park runs about three-quarters of a mile along the Ohio River at the base of Mt. Adams. It honors the late Theodore M. Berry who was active in the civil rights movement and served as Cincinnati's first African-American mayor from 1972-75.

The Ewing-Novak design for the Crystalline Tower was selected after an international competition with 150 artists initially invited to submit proposals. It is the first sculpture ever commissioned in the 185-year history of the Cincinnati parks.

In addition to the initial support from the city, the tower project received significant funding from the Ohio Arts Council, the Walter Gross Family Foundation, the Budig Foundation, the Rosenthal Foundation and the Kaplan Foundation.

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