Matt Kargol, 'Passages.' Photo by Bruce Walters.

Passages is a grouping of four rectangular columns prominently placed between the Family Museum and the Bettendorf Public Library on Learning Campus Drive. The column closest to the library lies flat on the ground. In sequence, the other three stand angled at 45 degrees, 67 degrees, and finally fully vertical. The effect of these 18-foot-tall, stainless-steel columns rising in a stop-motion progression is impressive.

Yet what ultimately catches one's attention is the brightly painted sphere perched precariously at the top of the standing column. An area the size of the sphere has been scooped out of the other columns. These smooth inverse curves are painted in the same bright colors as the sphere - yellow, red, and green - and visually soften the angular metal impact of the sculptural group. They feel like a finger's indent in a stick of butter. The positioning of these indents creates an illusion of an upward trajectory or path that the sphere has taken.

(Editor's note: This is part of an occasional series on the history of public art in the Quad Cities.)

Sol LeWitt, 'Tower.' Photo by Bruce Walters.In 1984, a site-specific sculpture by the internationally renowned artist Sol LeWitt (1928-2007) was installed near the south entrance of the RiverCenter on Third Street in Davenport. Titled simply Tower, this sculpture was made of four 21-foot-tall slabs of concrete bolted to a framework of steel I-beams. These slabs, made of crushed marble and silica, were cast using more than a half-mile of Styrofoam strips.

Additional works by LeWitt, Wall Drawing #405 and Two Wall Drawings, were also installed in the center's atrium at this time. Longtime LeWitt assistant Anthony Sansotta worked with area art students to make these 18-foot-long drawings. In all, roughly 30 Quad Citians helped with the installations - including art students, plasterers, carpenters, painters, cement finishers, laborers, iron workers, crane operators, truck drivers, and electricians.

Don't look for these works at the RiverCenter, however. Tower was moved to the Figge Art Museum's plaza in October 2004. The original wall drawings were removed from the RiverCenter, and Wall Drawing #405 was redrawn inside the Figge at the top of the stairway leading to the second-floor galleries. LeWitt claimed this new drawing is not a re-creation but is still the original artwork. He regarded his wall drawings as impermanent and repeatable. And his work is intentionally unemotional.

(Editor's note: This is the first in an occasional series on the history of public art in the Quad Cities.)

Photo by Bruce WaltersStanding on a ridge overlooking the Rock River, an 18-ton granite statue of Black Hawk dominates the space before the Watch Tower Lodge at the Black Hawk State Historic Site (1510 46th Avenue in Rock Island). This is near the location of the Native American village Saukenuk, the largest settlement in Illinois when it became a state in 1818. The statue's commanding presence tells us that this was a man of great importance.

Rupi's Dance, Ian Anderson's fourth solo album, is an exuberant, intelligent work. Anderson's flute playing is lively and melodic, and his voice seems to have shed 20 years. Although the music is complex, it seamlessly combines elements of Irish, Indian, jazz, and classical music.

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