Stainless steel beauty: Nature inspires new Kettering bridge sculpture

Kettering’s latest public artwork — a sculpture spanning the new Ridgeway Road bridge — was inspired by the lush landscape surrounding it.

“Foliage,” a stainless steel piece designed by Cliff Garten Studio in Venice, CA, mimics the landscape found within Hills & Dales MetroPark and Kettering.

“The bridge is a place a lot of residents love going to whether its walking across it or just admiring the view of the rolling hills of Kettering,” said Shayna McConville, Division Manager of Cultural Arts for Kettering. “It’s a tremendously meaningful spot.”

“The studio’s philosophy is to make a place that thoughtfully includes how people can gather and use the space within their community.”

The bridge crosses over Dorothy Lane with one end in Oakwood and the other in Kettering.

Swooping s­culpture screens stretch across the length patterned with laser cut outs of the foliage and fauna found in the landscape.

Maple, oak, river birch and pawpaw leaves, zebra butterflies and dogwood bloom shaped openings cast shadows on the sidewalks.

Pedestrians walking along the artwork will follow a pattern of leaves designed to look as if they are caught in a gust of wind.

“The designers really wanted to capture that feeling of wind and movement as leaves move through space,” McConville said.

The blowing leaves taper into swirling towers that serve as landmarks on the bridge. At night they will be softly illuminated from within.

Two plaza areas with seating are incorporated into the design and provide places to admire the view.

The Ridgeway Road bridge replacement cost $3 million with $350,000 budgeted for public art.

Temporary vandal fencing has been installed until custom fencing arrives late next month or in October. Landscaping will be completed next spring.

“It’s a place that isn’t invisible,” McConville said. “Kettering cares about the places it creates. An investment like this in a permanent piece of art is small considering the impact it will have on so many people.”

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