Friday, January 17, 2014

Dino Week: Inspired Artwork


With dinosaurs themselves being so prevalent in the area, it is not surprising to find artwork of and inspired by the mighty creatures.  Greater Philadelphia is the home to numerous thriving art communities, and within some of these communities we found a fascination with prehistoric monsters.
Dana Stewart has a vast array of sculpture depicting all different types of interesting and often bizarre mythological creatures.  Sue's Nightmare at Grounds for Sculpture is one of these pieces made up of a ring of ferocious looking smaller animals with an aggressive stance.  The story behind Sue's Nightmare leads directly back to a memorable dinosaur encounter when the artist came face to face with a giant Tyrannosaurus Rex named Sue at the Motor Exhibit Building in Chicago.  There to visit a friend, he was not expecting to see the skeleton of such an enormous beast.  He began considering what could have brought down such a powerful animal and decided that only a swarm of vicious ankle biters could have done the job.  Sue's Nightmare came to life soon after in the form of these creatures poised to attack whoever steps into the middle of their circle - even a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
On the grounds of the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania, one can find large sculptures that evoke different emotions depending on the time of year, time of day, and the angle at which they are observed.  Artist George Sugarman was inspired by nature when he created these pieces.  You feel the presence of the seasons, falling water, blowing leaves.  There is a freedom for the viewer's imagination to project personal emotions onto the sculpture.  A lot of people seem to have dinosaurs on the brain when they look at the sculptures.  Time and time again, we heard that if you look at them from certain angles they become those terrifying prehistoric monsters.  And once you see dinosaurs in the sculpture, it becomes rather difficult to "unsee" them.
In 2002, the city of Wilmington hosted Downtown Dino Days where they unveiled 48 dinosaur sculptures decorated by local artists as part of a public art exhibit sponsored by the city's companies and organizations.  The exhibit, the first of its kind in Wilmington, was presented by Dupont in partnership with The Office of the Mayor, The Delaware College of Art and Design, and Wilmington Renaissance Corporation.  The Dino Days Auction raised more than $43,000 for the DCAD Scholarship Fund.  In 2003, due to the sculptures' popularity, 55 new dinosaurs returned to Downtown Wilmington, appealing to people and children of all ages.  With the success of Dino Days, the Wilmington Renaissance Corporation has high hopes for new and innovative public art programs in the future for the city.
Our search for dinosaurs would not be complete without including these fantastic art pieces.  Dinosaurs made their mark on us and the earth in more ways than just scientific.  They continue to inspire the work of artists and the art communities, making dinosaurs pop up around Greater Philadelphia in places we weren't expecting them.
  Day 1 - Delaware Museum of Natural History
 Day 2 - Philadelphia Zoo
 Day 3 - Adventure Aquarium
Day 4 - Academy of Natural Sciences
Day 5 - Haddonfield

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