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Canal Men Installation

canal men in carillon

Canal Men in the Miami-Erie Canal Lock at Carillon Park through Memorial day. Open Mon-Sat 9:30 a.m. -5 :00 p.m.  and Sun Noon-5:00 p.m.

I was invited to create a site specific sculptural installation to run concurrently with Patrick Dougherty’s Branching Out, a project sponsored by The Wegerzyn Garden Foundation in cooperation with Five Rivers Metro Parks.
During the month of  April, I installed figures, cast in natural and recycled materials, in the granite pools along Patterson Avenue which commemorate the canal that used to flow through downtown Dayton. The figures seemed to emerge from the litter that has obscured their history. They represent the lives of the thousands of men who labored from sunrise to sunset to dig the Miami Erie Canal. Begun in 1825, it connected Dayton to the rest of the world, but was rendered obsolete by the railroads before it was even completed. Abandoned and deemed an eyesore, it was finally filled in 1928. The installation sought to celebrate the lives and the remarkable stories that have been all but forgotten.
510project, the public art initiative launched last fall by Gallery 510 Fine Art and Blue Sky Project, arranged for me to move my studio to KeyBank Tower during the month of April. I  worked on the northwest side of Court House square in a space donated by Courthouse Crossing inviting the public to check out the process as I cast sculptures to be installed along Patterson Blvd in the memorial canals and to participate in the project by making  flowers from recycled plastic.canalman

During Urban Nights, Canal Men were on view outside Canal Street Tavern and inside The Southern Belle next door where a wake was held and toasts were made. I was out and about with the flower-making cart.

flower cart

The final resting place for the Canal Men was the Miami-Erie Canal lock in the Carillon Historical Park where they were buried after Memorial Day.

I would like to thank Pam Houk  the Branching out project coordinator, as well as Peter Benkendorf and Loretta Puncer  for inviting me to participate in the 510 project. Thank you to The Metro Park system and Riverscape as well as Carillon Historic Park.

2 comments so far

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  1. My interest is in the Miami Canal and Seely’s Ditch, I have a web site devoted to them, please check them out at:

  2. Thank you Larry!