Once a sculpture is installed in the roundabout at 106th Street and College Avenue in Home Place, it will be a dream come true for Sherry Heston – literally.
The inspiration for the piece paying homage to the history and people of the area came to her in her sleep soon after she had been discussing a potential sculpture with other members of the Greater Home Place Neighborhood Association.
“I woke up with this idea, so I wrote it down,” said Heston, GHPNA president. “I had this vision of what I wanted and what would work and would symbolize different portions of the area. So, I brought the idea back to my board and they loved it.”
The five-sided stainless-steel sculpture looks like a house when viewed from above, in honor of Home Place, with each side adorned with railroad ties representing the rail line that once ran through the area (now the Monon Greenway). The sculpture will be surrounded by a brick wall with symbols representing the GHPNA, the military, Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation, the Pleasant Grove Church steeple and a rose for businesses that grew and blossomed from Home Place.
The steel structure – which resembles a railroad lantern – will be topped with a red-tailed hawk, a bird common in the area. The hawk will face south to welcome visitors to Carmel and the Home Place area.
“The hawk symbolizes intelligence, protection, freedom and leadership. All of those describe this area,” Heston said. “A lot of people have gotten their humble beginnings here at Home Place and moved on.”
Carmel annexed Home Place, a previously unincorporated area of approximately 1,000 acres, in 2018 after a lengthy court battle. Since then, the city has worked to upgrade its infrastructure, which includes transforming the intersection of 106th Street and College Avenue – the heart of Home Place – into a roundabout.
Sculptures in Carmel roundabouts are nothing new, but the $266,000 project – paid for entirely through donations – marks the first time a local organization has designed and funded a piece on its own. Heston said the project has been in the works for approximately two years.
“We didn’t want just anything going in that roundabout,” she said. “We wanted to have some kind of a say or voice as to what went in there and preserve some of the Home Place history that would honor those individuals who created this area and who lived here, as well as people who are currently living here and make them proud.”
Once the GHPNA was on board, its leaders worked to gain approval from the Carmel mayor’s office and the Carmel Public Art Advisory Committee. They also needed to convince a sculptor from a list of city-approved roundabout artists to create the piece.
After several rejections from other artists, Ryan Feeney of Indy Art Forge eagerly signed on to make the sculpture. Feeney, known for creating the statue of Peyton Manning outside of Lucas Oil Stadium, is a firefighter with the Indianapolis Fire Department and quickly embraced Heston’s concept for the piece, working with her to refine the details and make it a reality.
“This whole entire design is (Heston’s), and I’ve tweaked a little bit here and there, but ultimately she knows exactly what she wanted,” Feeney said. “It makes my job to be able to focus on each individual piece.”
Heston, who has lived in Home Place since 1993, doesn’t know when the sculpture will be installed, as it is dependent on when the city puts the roundabout infrastructure in place. She expects the steel lantern to be ready well before the hawk, which will likely be added later. Completing the project is also dependent on fundraising, as approximately $55,000 is still needed.
“It’s been so worthwhile,” Heston said. “And it’ll be so rewarding when it’s finished.”
To learn more about the project or make a donation, visit gofundme.com/f/home-place-roundabout-artwork-106th-college.
Hawk-eyed attention to detail
Creating the red-tailed hawk for the Home Place roundabout sculpture is painstaking work for artist Ryan Feeney of Indy Art Forge.
One wall in his workshop is covered with images of the bird from different angles to make sure he gets every detail just right.
“I’d have six to eight weeks, maybe a little bit more, to get everything designed into clay,” he said. “Then once I hand it over to the foundry, which makes it into the bronze, they need 10 to 12 weeks.”
Feeney has had help from project donors and community members, including local Girl Scouts, who helped place and mold clay for the hawk.
“I like to have community involvement,” he said.
In between working on pieces for the Home Place sculpture, Feeney turns his attention to other projects. Recently, that’s included a giant horseshoe to be filled with football helmets for the Indianapolis Colts and a wheeled rack to easily move Colts owner Jim Irsay’s growing set of collector guitars.