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PARTA Narrows Artists to 3 in Veterans Memorial Design Competition

Kent, Ravenna residents among final 3 groups competing to design new memorial at downtown transit center

Ask Brinsley Tyrrell what he envisions for a veterans memorial at the new Kent Central Gateway transit center downtown, and you likely won't get an answer.

"I'm keeping that under wraps for now," he said.

The 71-year-old Ravenna artist is among the three semifinalists competing to design the new Veterans Memorial at PARTA's new center under construction in Kent.

Along with Tyrrell, Kent artist George Danhires is among the semifinalists. Danhires designed and installed the Kent Bicentennial Sculpture. The bronze sculpture, dedicated in 2011, stands on Franklin Avenue north of the Pufferbelly and depicts images from Kent's history.

Aside from the two local men, three residents of Georgia are working together on their design and comprise the third semifinalist.

Mary Roberts, of Acworth, GA, and Timothy and Daniel Gay of Savannah, GA, all took a tour of the Kent construction site recently — as did Danhires and Tyrrell — to get a sense for the project and to start their designs.

You can find the resumés of all the artists attached to this article.

Bryan Smith, director of planning for PARTA, said along with the tour PARTA gave the artists the project's mission statement and explained what the transit agency is looking for in its memorial.

"And then we said 'go back and make a mock-up of what it is you might do,'" Smith said.

On Nov. 14 the artists will submit their proposals — in either a mock-up, powerpoint display or photographs — to PARTA's steering and advisory committees on the project.

Before year's end the transit agency will hold two public meetings to get feedback from the public on the designs, and the winning artist should be chosen around the first of the year.

"Hopefully we'll get someone under contract by February for an opening in the fall of 2013," Smith said.

Each group will be paid a $1,500 stipend to pay for the mock-up costs. The $26 million transit center includes a budget of $120,000 set aside for public art to pay for the memorial.

PARTA will maintain the memorial in perpetuity with revenue generated by the parking deck. The memorial will stand at the southeast corner of the site.

Tyrrell, who planted the daffodils as part of the May 4 Memorial on the Kent State University campus, said he'll most likely submit a physical mock-up of his proposal next month along with drawings of the design.

"It’s a challenge, I suppose," Tyrrell said. "And I like doing big works of art. It’s clearly significant to do work in an area that you’ve lived in for ... years, so in that sense it’s very exciting."

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