Herron’s Dickerson celebrates ‘The Hoosier Spirit’ with new State Fair commission

Along with the opportunity to eat your way to the Midway, do some superb people watching and check out the barnyard blue ribbons at this year’s Indiana State Fair, you can experience the new outdoor sculpture by Herron junior Jamie Dickerson.

Celebrating the Hoosier Spirit, a work named for the Fair’s 2012 theme, was dedicated August 3. It’s a site-specific, semi-permanent sculpture that will be on display for up to five years in Dow Agro Sciences Celebration Park, in the northeast quadrant of the Fairgrounds by the 4H buildings and free stage.

Jamie Dickerson. Hoosier Spirit. 2012. Indiana State Fair Grounds.
Jamie Dickerson. Hoosier Spirit. 2012. Indiana State Fair Grounds.

Dickerson’s concept “celebrates Indiana as a major agricultural state that is increasingly exploring ways to use its renewable and plentiful resources in the production of biofuels and plastics from corn, beyond food production,” she said.

Celebrating the Hoosier Spirit is comprised of three forms evoking corn husks, ranging in height from 12 to 11 feet, each being about five feet wide, reaching upward to imply a growing, energetic spirit. The forms are large enough for people to walk through “…and explore the beauty and versatility of this resource,” Dickerson said. The Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Association donated the wood for the project.

Fair officials partnered the Arts Council of Indianapolis to issue a request for proposals, specifying that the work be made primarily with recycled materials or materials synonymous with the State of Indiana, and that it “inspire a celebration of the Hoosier spirit”.

The Arts Council’s Public Art Selection Committee—composed of artists, arts advocates, curators, administrators and other arts and community development specialists—reviewed proposals and presented recommendations to Fair officials for the final selection. Dickerson’s was the only student submission.

Lindsey Lord of the Indianapolis Arts Council described the process this way: “In a Request for Proposals we request resume, exhibition history, biography, and things like that, and then we request an actual proposal of what your piece would look like.

“Jamie’s was really nice in that she submitted a 3-D rendering of what the piece would look like on the grounds of the State Fair. She also submitted scale models of the sculpture. She included textures, all sorts of things that really gave you a feel of what the finished product would look like,” said Lord.

Dickerson said, “The curriculum at Herron really helps to prepare you to make professional proposals and to submit them in a way that’s very clean … that you are saying what you mean to be saying…. And also to be clear about what materials you may or may not use, because there are always going to be some alterations in the process ….

“Without the training and working with people who have so much experience, there is no way I could have confidently put this forth.” In addition to help from Herron faculty, Herron alumni James Darr (B.F.A. in Sculpture, ’03), Brose Partington (B.F.A. in Sculpture, ’04) and Brad Dilger of TriForm Studio (B.F.A. in Sculpture, ’04), were on Dickerson’s fabrication crew.

One visitor to Celebration Park, writing for Ag News, admired “…the beautiful green streaks and dark tones of poplar, the rich browns of white oak and the pinkish-red hues of sycamore trees that artist Jamie Dickerson used to showcase the unique textures and grains of Indiana hardwoods in her piece.”

The Fair runs through August 19.

Jamie Dickerson – Indiana State Fair Commission from Herron School of Art and Design on Vimeo.