Hamilton, the City of Sculpture! Changing of Opinions The city of Hamilton, Ohio is proud to be called “The City of Sculptures”. Though most citizens feel like this now, In the beginning were much different. On August 16th, 2000, Ohio’s Governor Bob Taft formally recognized Hamilton as the “The City of Sculpture”. This was inspired by some community members and artists. Although it was popular by some, many were wondering why we would waste tax money and time on projects that did not benefit the city. One such citizen declared that the city government would be bankrupted by this. The group of community members officially formed Hamilton, Ohio City of Sculpture, Inc., a 503c organization.
When this was first announced, much discussion was happening at restaurants and around town about this project. There were many misgivings about wasting taxpayer’s money and wasting valuable resource from the city to take care of the sculptures. Also it was felt that the art would not reflect well upon the community and share its values. There were was many negative comments and people who didn’t want to try anything new. One such opinion in the local newspaper was stated “On July 13, I watched the installation of another silly and insulting sculpture that Hamilton is supposed to be famous for.” (Cunningham, 2009) Cunningham also wrote “Perhaps a statue that looks like the Terminator’s intestines is better than a weed-covered lot in the heart of downtown.” There have been many comments along these lines, the art is ugly, it doesn’t make any sense and this isn’t art.
So beginning with a community funded Fitton Center for Creative Arts and Hamilton Businessman Harry Wilkes who built a nonprofit 265 acre sculpture park called Pyramid Hill with over 40 sculptures, began a journey through which Hamilton grew into the City of Sculpture. Hamilton, which transformed a blue collar community from which manufacturing safes and steel farm tools as their main businesses into city which is proud of its art displays. The public reaction after the initial down turn has grown dramatically in popularity. “Our response has been overwhelming,” said Gerry Hammond, president of a group with a mission to install sculpture throughout the city. “I never anticipated this would happen.” (McNutt, 2002) Every year seems to bring more and more sculptures to Hamilton. The most notable of these sculptures are Bronze Firefighters memorial, a sculpture of President Bush commemorating the “No Child Left Behind” bill he signed in Hamilton, the city’s namesake of Alexander Hamilton in his flowing cape downtown and many other sculptures. There are over 40 some scattered throughout the city. This includes the most famous of our statues is Victory, the Jewel of the Soul or aka Billy Yank, a civil