Rye Town Park visitors, on June 13, were fortunate to hear artist Damien Vera talk about his shining sculpture <Cope>. The Rye Arts Center had the sculpture installed in the park last August under its public art initiative program and invited Vera for the occasion.

The 14-foot-high metal sculpture sits on a circular concrete base 12 feet in diameter. On first glance, it appears to be simply five three-sided, smooth-pointed towers of different heights, presenting a beautiful modern symmetrical group (like a hand’s five abstract fingers) reaching to the sky.

After listening to the sculptor, we realized it’s much more. The exterior of two sides of each tower is polished stainless steel, while the interior side is simple mild (low carbon, malleable) steel. The towers are hollow and visitors can walk between them. Each interior side has a small slit so you can look inside and – amazingly — see a human figure cast in winterstone.

<Cope> was created in 2012 under New York City’s Art Students League Model to Monument (M2M) program to create large-scale sculpture for outdoor public spaces. Initially situated in Manhattan’s Riverside Park South, it survived Hurricane Sandy without damage. The work is still owned by the League.

A Queens native, Vera earned a B.S. at RPI in 2007 and is now a technical instructor at the League. He explained that his concept for <Cope> started withthe idea of change” and “a hand”. It went through several models and a computer-aided design. It took nine months to construct, with help from a team at Serett Metalworks in Brooklyn.

The majority of art lovers who took part in a recent Rye Arts Center survey said they’d like <Cope> to remain in Rye Town Park.

Meanwhile, the Arts Center plans to expand its public art initiative.

  • Arthur Stampleman


Sculptor Damien Vera at Rye Town Park last month

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