Sculptures return to Troy Square

‘Wind and Water’ is theme of work by 22 artists.

Jenny Hager believes an outdoor sculpture exhibition brings people together, creates a sense of place and enhances an entire community.

Hager, who lives in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, is a professor of sculpture at the University of North Florida and runs Sculpture Walk Jax, a non-profit company that places artwork in communities. She’s also one of 22 artists whose work is currently featured at “Sculptures on the Square,” the biannual event that encourages folks from far and wide to take a pleasant walk around Troy’s central area and enjoy original contemporary sculptures along the way.

“These shows don’t cost that much to run but they end up bringing a lot of money back to the community,” says Hager. “People come for the walk and then go to restaurants and local shops.”

Kennedy Coomes is executive director of Troy Main Street, the nonprofit organization that promotes the economic revitalization of downtown Troy. “I think the sculptures have been popular because we are bringing something new and different to the downtown area, whether they are Seward Johnson’s sculptures or more abstract pieces,” she says. “People like to get in touch with their artsy side.”

This year’s theme, “Wind and Water” showcases 25 sculptures from throughout the United States and runs through October 1. Free brochures can be picked up at most Troy businesses and include a location map of sculptures and information about the artists. There’s also a Scavenger Hunt that gets visitors to interact with the sculptures, “We want them to have fun,” says Coomes.

Each of the sculptures is sponsored by a company, an organization or by private citizens. The cement bases on which the sculptures sit are installed and donated by Ernst Concrete.

How it began

The successful project got its start in 2003 when the lifelike work of notable sculptor Seward Johnson was featured. His lifelike figures look so real that, according to the New York Times, firefighters are said to have tried to rescue one of them after 9/11. The bronze folks have been so popular that Johnson’s work has been featured in Troy five times over the years.

Other themes have ranged from WACO biplane replicas to steel bicycle sculptures. In 2021, Sculptures on the Square focused on art that reflected the theme “Taking Flight” in tribute to Ohio’s history of flight and aviation.

The committee that organizes the exhibit is made of 16 Troy residents who volunteer for the project. Co-chairs this year are Ginny and Mike Beamish. Mike, a former Troy mayor, has been on the committee since its inception.

The group searched for a theme that related to the natural world and would inspire artists. “We want the creativity of the artist as well as the environment that we live in, the Great Miami River,” Mike says. “We thought of wind and water.”

After receiving submissions, a selection committee picks the sculptures they feel best fit the theme. This year those include a huge sailboat, bells ringing in the sky that move with the wind, a tower with a windsock on top of it, a fish and a butterfly. There’s a huge freeform bubble wand made out of red plastic with a big bubble in it and eight-foot tall colorful flowers.

“All of the sculptures are in the eye of the beholder and their interpretation and imagination,” Mike notes.

Meet the artists

The sculpture titled “Moonscape” was created by Tess Little of Fairborn who typically works in welded steel, found objects, bronze, concrete and clay. The piece sits in front of Troy’s City Hall.

“‘Moonscape’ explores the sacred movement of the phases of the moon across an undulating landscape,” explains Little. “The moon gently caresses the undulating hills and valleys of an earthly landscape, creating a path to guide us on our life journeys.”

In this sculpture she used an old wagon wheel to symbolize the universe and a series of stainless-steel globes to represent the phases of the moon and the moon’s power. “I love the combination of the stainless steel against the rough rusted steel,” she says. " It is as if the polished steel are the moonbeams meeting the rough brown texture of the earth.”

Little says she loves working with steel and also loves the moon. “To me steel connects you to the earth and also has the power of heat. I got out every night and look at the moon. The moon and water are so connected because the moon controls the tide so I felt they were partners.”

Hager’s sculpture, “Wings of the Phoenix,” represents the story of rebirth. “The great bird rises from the ashes,” she says in her artist’s statement. “The wings are waterjet cut from aluminum and gracefully adorn the top of an upward-sweeping abstract form.”

“It’s about starting fresh, starting again, having a rebirth of self,” Hager says. “The idea was born from an amazing collaborative project I did in Latvia where we created a volcano that erupted and a steel Phoenix danced on top of the volcano. Then it burned to its ashes and we resurrected it through a fire dance!”

In the original performance, Hager wore a set of wings she made that are the same shape as the ones on the sculpture. “I used that performance to inspire this large scale public piece of art.”

Related programming

  • A number of downtown businesses and organizations in Troy are featuring art by local artists. You’ll find those listed in the “Sculptures on the Square” brochure. There are also a number of permanent sculptures in Troy and you’ll find a map of those in the brochure as well.
  • Activities for kids and families are being held from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays at the Cherry Street Local Farmers Market.
  • There will be a Troy Donut Jam on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 25 and 26 and a Bubbles party from 5:30-8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 8 in Prouty Plaza.


What: “Sculptures on the Square,” original sculptures inspired by the theme “Wind and Water.” Presented by the Troy Foundation.

Where: Troy, Ohio

When: Through Oct. 1

Admission: Free

Street parking: Free

Note: Many of Troy’s restaurants and shops are closed on Mondays. If you are interested in purchasing one of the sculptures or would like more information contact

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