Musical, interactive plant sculpture to appear along Great Miami River

A new sculpture will take root in Dayton at the end of the bridge at West Monument Avenue near the Dayton Masonic Center.

Set to debut Monday, April 24, the installment, titled “Wind in the Garden,” is the latest interactive and musical work of art created by sculptor and multi-instrumentalist Michael Bashaw. Commissioned by the Garden Club of Dayton, Bashaw combined aluminum and stainless steel to create an art deco-style fiddlehead fern that stands at over 18 feet tall on the edge of the Great Miami River.

A ring of metal on the center pillar is inscribed with “Centennial Overlook,” “The Garden Club of Dayton” and “1922-2022″ in celebration of the organization’s recent centennial birthday. The Centennial Overlook is a part of the redevelopment of Sunrise Park in the Riverfront Plan the Garden Club is working in conjunction with Fiver Rivers MetroParks.

“I’ve wanted to do a piece somewhere along the river for years,” Bashaw said. “This was a great opportunity for me, so I really appreciate the chance to make something happen. It’s a very prominent site that overlooks the river at a really dramatic spot.”

The river plays a role in the installation by creating wind gusts that interact with the sculpture. Depending on the strength of the gusts, adjustable pipes in the center of the sculpture will create different harmonics akin to the sound of a flute by capturing the wind and splitting the tone.

By using perforated aluminum in the project, Bashaw was also able to integrate a moiré effect into the sculpture. The aluminum sheets can create mind-bending patterns when overlaying grids, causing the effect.

“When you’re moving closer to it, all of a sudden — and this is perfect for the Garden Club — you’ll see this almost mandala-like floral pattern, like a chrysanthemum almost, in sections throughout the piece,” Bashaw said.

The sculpture is fit with lights on the inside, which Bashaw said makes the piece a sight to see even at night. Each side section of the fiddlehead fern includes musical elements that can be activated by a knob on the side of the sculpture as well.

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