Don’t be stuck inside: Get out and explore Kettering’s outdoor sculptures

Looking for new places to stretch your legs? Consider taking a walking tour of Kettering’s outdoor sculpture.

There are dozens of large-scale artworks scattered throughout the city to admire while getting some exercise at a safe social distance during the coronavirus pandemic, said Shayna V. McConville, City of Kettering cultural arts manager.

“Our program is really special in that all of the artwork is selected and in collaboration with the residents of Kettering.”

Artwork in public spaces enriches a community and demonstrates pride and value, she said. “I think that is why art in general can be so highly important in a healthy, vibrant community.”

A list of Kettering's CitySites sculptures and their locations in an interactive map can be found here.

Make a visit to the six sculptures centered around Fraze Pavilion and Lincoln Park Civic Commons. Created in a variety of artistic styles, they are located along a compact, accessible walk that’s less than a mile long.

“Old Man and His Dog” 

Credit: Lisa Powell

Credit: Lisa Powell

Glenna Goodacre, a nationally recognized artist, created this sculpture from bronze. The life-sized figures of a man seated on the concrete wall and his dog are positioned at the Commons Way entrance to Lincoln Park Civic Commons.

The man rests his head on hands folded on top of his cane while his dog sits by his side.

The dog is modeled after a mixed lab owned by Goodacre’s business manager according to the City of Kettering’s website. The man is modeled after a 90-year-old in her home town of Santa Fe, N.M.

“The Runner” 

Goodacre has also created a companion bronze sculpture next to Old Man and His Dog and this spot has become popular for selfies.

“The Runner” depicts a young woman stretching, leg propped up along a wall, before she takes off on a jog.

Goodacre is well known for her bronze figures. One of her best-known works is the Women’s Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C.

“Song and Dance” 

Credit: Lisa Powell

Credit: Lisa Powell

This whimsical sculpture in Kettering Central Park within Lincoln Park Civic Commons was created by artist Barry Gunderson.

Made from aluminum, the four figures bend at the waist and reach their arms skyward. It was the first piece commissioned for the commons.

“Memorial for 9/11” 

This sculpture, created by artist John Van Alstine out of Indiana limestone and painted steel, is located at the northwest corner of Lincoln Park and Ackerman Boulevard.

The 26,600-pound sculpture is also a solar calendar, allowing the solar noon sun to line up with the stylus on the monument each year on Sept. 11, according to the city of Kettering’s description.

A paved area, Seitz Plaza, has been created around the artwork for gatherings or to sit and reflect.

“Friendship Arch” 

Diagonally from the “Memorial for 9 / 11,” across Ackerman Boulevard in Wenzler Park, is a sculpture called “Friendship Arch” by artist Tess Little.

The piece was made with the help of 250 community members whose traced hands are incorporated into a 12-foot stainless steel arch and two benches.


Credit: Lisa Powell

Credit: Lisa Powell

Cross back to the Lincoln Park Commons to see a stone carving by Japanese artist Keizo Ushio sitting alongside the Lincoln Park Pond.

This Indiana limestone sculpture of intertwining ribbon of limestone incorporates the symbol of love. A walking path surrounding the pond takes visitors on a path to the artwork.

Outdoor sculpture is intriguing because it relates to what’s around it, McConville said.

“It’s always going to have a relationship to where it is, the people around it, or how it sits or lives in a space. It really changes how people use the space.”

Other notable sculptures are scattered throughout the city and worth a visit. Here is a sampling:

Oak Park 

“Mutual Homes” was Inspired by Kettering’s 1945-era homes and manufacturing history. Artist Virginia Kistler created the sculpture in Kettering’s Oak Park, 2055 Malcolm Drive.

Walk around the piece, shaped like a small house, and lenticular patterning reveals images of Charles F. Kettering, B-24 bombers, a 1912 Cadillac Model 30 and more.

Delco Park 

“Rock Waves” is a 26,000-pound sculpture made of Indiana limestone that sits along the pond at Delco Park, 1700 Iron Horse Trail. Water formations carved into the stone reflect ripples in the water.

The path that meanders around the pond and through the park is a great place to get out for a walk or run and admire the artwork by German artist Anno Seibert.

While you are at Delco Park, take a look at ”Fish Weather Vane” on top of the shelter near the fishing pier. The rotating fish forged from steel are made by local artist Hamilton Dixon.

Polen Farm and J.F. Kennedy Park 

There are three outdoor sculptures located at Polen Farm, 5099 Bigger Road and J.F. Kennedy Park located next door to it in Kettering.

“The Interior Animal,” a work created by artist Erika Inger, is formed from rough-cut block of stone untouched from the quarry. Metal discs in descending sizes resemble a backbone shape and will make a music tone if fanned by hand.

An untitled sculpture by artist Elizabeth Hertz sits along the fence near the parking lot. Two sections appear partially settled into the ground while a third corten steel projection rises upward.

Nearby at J.F. Kennedy Park is “EGG” by Yellow Springs artists Beth Hoyoke and Käthi Seidl. “EGG,” made from 1,500 mosaic tiles created by 500 community members, reflects memories of Polen Farm and the surrounding park.

Haverstick neighborhood 

“Bee Ambitious” is a public artwork scattered throughout Kettering’s Haverstick neighborhood. The hub of the game, a 29-foot-long beehive made from mosaic pieces on Mendota Court, was created with nine games within it.

The artist, Jes McMillan, also spread 10 more mosaic bumble bees throughout the neighborhood, each with letters of the alphabet inside their wings – clues to decipher a word scramble.

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