A three-piece sculpture dedicated to flight is going up today along the entrance to the eastern Iowa airport south of Cedar Rapids. University of Northern Iowa art professor, Tom Stancliffe, designed and built the sculpture called “To Wing.”
Stancliffe says there’s one on one side of the road and two on the other side of the road and he says the large stainless steel forms are supposed to signify birds in flight, or the idea of flight.
Stancliffe says he was asked to come up with an idea for some artwork for the airport entrance back in 1998. Stancliffe says things eventually progressed into a competition, and he won the competition using an idea from the originators of manned flight.
Stancliffe says he didn’t know it, but discovered during his research that the Wright Brothers lived in Cedar Rapids as young boys, and he borrowed from their idea of watching birds and getting inspiration to build an airplane to fly.
Stancliffe says the sculptures weigh 50-thousand pounds and he says it looked like carnival rides on the backs of the big trucks that’re carrying them to the site. He says they’re bent and welded forms that were made in pieces and assembled from smaller wing pieces into larger wing pieces.
Stancliffe began actual work on the sculptures last June — and says it’s good to finally see them installed. He says it’s been a long project and it’s exciting to see them go up. Stancliffe says he has some finish work he’ll need to do once they’re up, but they should be all finished in the next week or two. The work was commissioned by the Cedar Rapids Visual Arts Commission and there’ll be a dedication ceremony later this summer.