New final resting spot proposed for Energy Loop

The running debate over a final resting spot for the Energy Loop sculpture, Asheville’s first public art piece, may be finally coming to an end. The city’s Public Art Board on Tuesday wholeheartedly endorsed placing the wavy chunk of steel in the center of a small plaza between a new parking deck and the new Carolina First building along College Street in downtown.

The Energy Loop was unveiled a few hundred yards away on College Street between the old City/County Plaza and Pack Square back in 1983. The sculpture was uprooted more than two years ago to make way for construction of the new Pack Square Park. Ever since, the Public Art Board has been pushing to have the piece placed in the new park, while the park’s overseers, the Pack Square Park Conservancy, have resisted.

On Tuesday, the Public Art Board announced a new location for Dirk Cruser’s abstract artwork —  a green mound in the center of the plaza along College Street directly across from the Buncombe County Courthouse. Diane Ruggiero, the city’s superintendent of cultural arts, said she hit upon the idea and began asking about the space, which is owned by the county. City officials approached the county about the location, and they’ve been amenable, Ruggerio said.

Board members adjourned their meeting on the fifth floor of City Hall and strolled over to the proposed location for a closer look.

“I like it. It’s a high-traffic area and it’s safe,” said board member Bill Fishburne, noting that children over the years enjoyed climbing on the piece.

Board member Harry Harrison agreed. “This is good. This is right.”

Ruggerio said she planned to hold public hearings about the proposed location to get public feedback. She said city and county officials would have to craft an agreement to place the sculpture at that location if all sides agree to move forward.

In other action Tuesday, the art board:

– Decided to keep the Urban Trail’s flat iron sculpture at its location on the corner of Battery Park Avenue and Wall Street. An alleged drunken driver behind the wheel of a Pontiac car struck the sculpture on Feb. 28, knocking it about 6-feet down the sidewalk. It was later removed for repairs and has yet to be plunked back down.

Mary Ann and Steve West, owners of the Miles Building, asked the Public Art Board to consider moving the sculpture from its location in front of the their building to a spot across the street and on the sidewalk corner directly in front of the Flat Iron Building. In an April 13 letter, the Wests said that while they love the sculpture, they believed the sculpture created confusion. “On most days, several visitors confuse the Historic Miles Building with the Flat Iron Building due to the sculpture and have missed appointments and meeting (sic) because of this confusion,” the Wests wrote.

The board said it had no plans to move the sculpture, noting that its old location was specifically chosen to be sure the sculpture could be seen in relation to the Flat Iron Building. The Reed Todd sculpture, an 8-foot-tall replica of irons used at the old Asheville Laundry, is a stop along the Urban Trail and a popular hangout for buskers, as well as tourists looking for a funky photo op.

– Heard an update on the creation of an Urban Trail audio tour. A company is working on recording interviews with a number of subjects, all with the goal of allowing anyone with an iPod or other player to download and listen. The audio tour should be finished by June, then posted on the city’s Web site.

– Announced a re-dedication ceremony for the Urban Trail mosaic honoring the old S&W Cafeteria building as an Art Deco masterpiece. The ceremony will be held at the mosaic at 4 p.m. on May 19.

— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor


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13 thoughts on “New final resting spot proposed for Energy Loop

  1. Mysterylogger

    You can get some good money for that piece of “Rust Art” at the scrap yard. It was a joke when it was unveiled and it still is. I still remember everyone laughing at it at the unveiling.

    Such a waste of tax dollars.

    Eneger Loop LOL a waste. Typical Asheville Spending.

  2. Rebecca Sulock

    I’m glad they found a place for the sculpture. I remember playing on it when I was a kid. I heart Energy Loop.

  3. Mysterylogger

    It would still be worth more in the scrap yard or at the bottom of a lake.

    What this town consideres art is funny.

  4. Mysterylogger –

    Not be to cliche’ but:
    “Art is the eye of the beholder… ”

    I don’t necessary appreciate all of our municipal art but even the oddest hunk of metal still adds to the aesthetic quality of life here in Asheville. To imply that a work of art is actually worth more at the bottom of a lake is simply without logic or humor. Does Asheville live up to the standard of art it tries to project itself as to the rest of the world? No, no it doesn’t – but this energy loop carries with it a lot of community history & pride. The essence of the loop may be worth more than it’s aesthetic value.

    If you feel you have a more cultured, informed and appropriate sense of what ‘art’ in the city should be than I highly suggest applying to the Public Art Board. I hear they currently have an opening or two.

  5. Mysterylogger

    No I just hate to see what our city spends our tax dollars on the wastefull Rust art that litters this town. The could save that money and apply it somewhere else but no they buy into the fad.

    The energy loop was a bad Idea, and still is the “Noodle” at its unveiling the audience in attendence was laughing I still remember that to this day, the day that abomination was put in our once beautiful city was the start of a down hill plummit to what we have now. A irresponsible city council and wasteful spending agenda.

    I see no pride in that piece of . . “Art” all I see is wasted money in the cities sad and petty attempt at being artsy and trendy. Asheville is not the Mecca of art it proclaims its a sad little town.

  6. Fred Keister

    Mysterylogger, I’m with you. But don’t you think a better “final resting place” for this piece of junk is in a junk yard”? Yes, to the landfill with it! And when they load the truck up with the “energy loop”, please gather that piece of “art” embarrassment in Pritchard Park. You know the one placed there a year ago by some warmed-hearted northeastern transplant wanting to make us look more like Manhattan. It just doesn’t belong in Pritchard Park.

  7. LOKEL

    Once again, the Energy Loop was NOT paid for by tax dollars … there was a contest sponsored by Quality Forward and numerous artists entered their works …

  8. Mysterylogger

    Tax money will be used to secure this abomination, Tax money will be used to keep it up.

    It is a blight that needs to be removed it is a bad idea now as it was then. Its just the few in Asheville trying to hold on to that wave of fads that rushed in here and took over our city.

    Rust Art is NOT part of ASheville heritage.

  9. It’s a rare piece of public art that encourages the high level of interactivity inspired by the Energy Loop through the years. I’m sure Rebecca is just one of thousands who have memories of playing on the sculpture. Perhaps the anonymous Mystery critic could reframe it as extremely sturdy playground equipment, paid for by donations, and feel somewhat molified. Surely Mr. E wouldn’t prefer that all of the rusting slides, swings, teeter totters, merry-go-rounds and jungle gyms in our sity’s playgrounds were consigned to Lake Julian?

  10. Mysterylogger

    The only thing this so called piece of art inspires in me is Rage and Pity for a once great city caving in to fads.

    Also seeing the homeless urinate on it was inspiring as well.

  11. copied from Asheville Artist list serve:

    Hi Everyone,

    Just a reminder that there will be a panel discusion about public art, “Art in
    the Public Realm”, this Sunday at 2pm at the Asheville Art Museum. I hope to
    see you here for this exciting event!

    Panelists are artist Mel Chin, curator/artist Hank Foreman and educator Barbara
    Cary. This promises to be a lively and informative discussion, and I hope you
    come armed with questions! (And maybe some answers too….)

    Come early or plan to stay late so you can enjoy the Christo and Jeanne-Claude
    exhibition on its last day.

    We will be charging Museum admission (sorry to have to) – free for Museum
    Members, $6 general, $5 for students and seniors. If you are an ABTech or
    Warren Wilson student, show your i.d. for free admission.


    Nancy Sokolove
    Adult Programs Manager
    Asheville Art Museum
    253.3227 x120

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