“Sky Ride” sculpture celebrating Ithaca’s bicycle culture to be dedicated


On Thursday July 6 representatives from the City of Ithaca, Community Arts Partnership, Bike Walk Tompkins, and supporters will gather at the Black Diamond Trail trailhead in Cass Park to dedicate ‘Sky Ride’, a new kinetic sculpture by artist Patricia Vader. The 20-foot-high sculpture features cutouts of six bicycle riders, circling upwards on bikes towards a group of clouds formed by re-used bicycle wheels at the top. The bike wheels act as windmills that turn in the wind and create an effect of motion. The sculpture was commissioned by the City of Ithaca’s Public Art Program and the Community Arts Partnership and is intended to celebrate Ithaca’s bike culture.

“Sky Ride shows how the sky is the limit. Just break through the clouds, all wheels spinning and, voilà, the world is your oyster while the breeze tickles your cheeks. May this art of the ride be an inspiration”, said the artist.

Tom Knipe, Deputy Director for Economic Development for the City of Ithaca, said, “With our partners, we sought a public art project that would communicate an inclusive and exciting vision for the future of active transportation in Ithaca, as well as help further identify this area of Cass Park as a hub of Ithaca cycling. Hopefully, the project does that and helps inspire all types of people to hop on a bike and enjoy the Cayuga Waterfront Trail and Black Diamond Trail.”

The project was privately funded through grants to the Community Arts Partnership and Bike Walk Tompkins from the Park Foundation and Visions Federal Credit Union. Community Arts Partnership Director Megan Barber said, “beyond adding interest and beauty to the landscape, public art at its best builds community and is a window into our collective values. This sculpture is such a great example of that. Thank you to everyone who made this project happen, especially the City and funders for supporting this vision.”

“People in Ithaca use bikes for daily transportation, for exercise and for pure fun. We hope that when people look at this sculpture, they feel like Ithaca is a community that celebrates bicycling and what it adds to our City in terms of health, sustainability, equity and culture”, said Niki Friske, Associate Director of Bike Walk Tompkins.

The foundation for the sculpture was designed by engineers Peter Novelli and Andy Sciarabba and installed by Jerry Stevenson of Macpherson Builders. The engineers also designed the support system and defined the material specifications. Ithaca-based Accufab fabricated and installed the sculpture while volunteers with Bike Walk Tompkins worked with the artist to build the windmills. Rich John donated use of a garage space on Taber Street for the artist and volunteers to assemble some of the materials.

Media and members of the public are invited to attend a short dedication ceremony on Thursday July 6th at 4:30pm at the Black Diamond Trail trailhead behind the Ithaca Children’s Garden where partners and supporters will be recognized for their contributions. Following the dedication, attendees are invited to join a short informal group ride on the Cayuga Waterfront Trail.

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