The statue the "Tumbler" reflects lights from nearby Christmas decorations in Park Central Square, Springfield. (Photo by Vince Rosati)
Ever wondered about the large, brown steel structure on Park Central Square in Springfield?
City of Springfield Assistant Public Works Director Jonathan Gano learned its origins when he was doing research on Park Central Square hoping to find out if the structure had a name, Gano tracked down the art piece’s sculptor, Aris Demetrios.
Gano contacted Demetrios by e-mail, and said within five minutes, the 81-year-old artist responded from an iPhone in Montecito, California.
About Aris Demetrios
Aristides Burton Demetrios was born and raised in Massachusetts, the son of George Demetrios, a classical sculptor trained by a student of Rodin and Virginia Lee Burton, an author/illustrator and winner of a prestigious Caldecott prize. A graduate of Harvard College, Aristides spent three years as an officer in the Navy before studying at the George Demetrious School. In 1963 he won his first national sculpture competition when his proposed design was selected for a major fountain commission for the campus of Stanford University. His subsequent numerous works of public art are on display in prominent locations around the world, including Bataan Memorial on Corregidor Island in Philippines, the 92' Wind Harp in South San Francisco, the 80' sculpture Cosmos and the fountain Peirine in New York.
"I was shocked to get an answer so quickly," Gano said. "Not only did I find out the name of the piece was the 'Tumbler,' but I also found out it was named that because it was supposed to be re-oriented every season, so in effect, you have a new piece of art. It inspired a lot of commentary, conversation and even a little bit of controversy when it arrived."
The Tumbler was installed on the square in 1971 and is regarded as Springfield's first piece of modern art. Creation of the Tumbler was funded by an arts patron identified as "Mrs. Monroe Sawyers," who reportedly donated $15,000. Demetrios said that barely covered the cost of steel to make it.