The newly opened Phase II of the Vista Greenway features the Vista Guild’s newest public art sculpture installation, a 12-foot-tall, powder-coated steel sculpture by artist Doug McAbee titled “Curtis & Bob.”
The sculpture is at the Taylor Street entrance to the tunnel adjacent to Finlay Park, which opened July 13 after completion of Phase II of construction. The eye-catching yellow sculpture adds to the list of Vista Guild-commissioned public art pieces and is whimsical and approachable, according to the artist. The sculpture also follows McAbee’s current body of work, which utilizes humor with formal and conceptual qualities to create a visual conversation with the viewer.
“Curtis, the taller figure, may signify the Columbia or the state of South Carolina historically as we have risen with strength and technology again and again throughout our past,” said McAbee, a graduate of Winthrop University who is an assistant professor of art at Lander University. “Bob sits high up on Curtis’ shoulders proudly looking toward the future. These two pals, though very different in appearance, work together in partnership to accomplish their goals. Curtis & Bob represent the people and the state I know and love.”
The Vista Guild has worked diligently to fund, support, commission and install public art sculpture in recent years. With “Curtis & Bob,” the Vista now has five sculptures throughout the neighborhood. This commitment is part of the reason the South Carolina Arts Commission recently named the Vista an official South Carolina Cultural District.
“The Vista as we know it today is rooted in galleries and artists and we’re pleased to be able to add even more character to the neighborhood with the addition of Curtis & Bob. The sculpture is cheerful and adds to the fabric of its urban surroundings,” said Meredith Atkinson, executive director of the Vista Guild. “Our board is dedicated to keeping the history of the neighborhood and the arts front and center with every decision we make, and we look forward to adding even more public art to the Vista.”
One Columbia for Arts and History aided the Vista Guild with logistics and communications in the installation process. “It has been a privilege to work with the Vista Guild, Doug McAbee and the City of Columbia to install another piece of public art. Sculptures like ‘Curtis & Bob’continue to enhance the uniqueness and artistic talent of the Vista, Columbia’s first recognized cultural district, but also physically represent how Columbia is a hub of creativity,” said Lee Snelgrove, executive director of One Columbia.
The greenway, developed in partnership with Richland County, the City of Columbia and the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, is a 14-foot wide multi-use asphalt path that travels from Taylor Street, at Finlay Park, to Elmwood Avenue.
“This is a manifestation of the hard work and vision of so many people for so long,” Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin said about the greenway. “Neighborhood leaders, business leaders, design professionals, everyone coming together trying to make sure that we add value to what it means to quality of life here in Columbia, South Carolina. This is a very big deal.”
Featured image: “Curtis & Bob” (photo courtesy of One Columbia)