Sculptures add cultural depth to the City of Radford

Photo by Ethan Bell“Waiting for the Train of Thought” by Charlie Brouwer, retired Radford University professor and Floyd County resident, is one of four new sculptures recently installed in the City of Radford.

Heather Bell

RADFORD — Driving around Radford, one might notice the new three-dimensional art pieces that have been installed throughout the city.

The four new sculptures are a result of a grant-funded, juried sculpture competition.

“Our 2016 exhibit at the Mary Draper Ingles Cultural Heritage Park in the west end proved so successful that we felt encouraged to place sculptures in other parts of the city, including a street adjacent to Radford University and along the commercial districts,” said Deborah Cooney, tourism director. “Four sculptures have been selected from 18 entries in the city’s second outdoor sculpture competition. The exhibit’s theme, “Locomotion—Art for All Seasons,” centers on the importance of the river and rails to the city’s development and features artists from three states, including two from the New River Valley.”

Winning submissions for the new exhibit include “Rail by River” by Radford artist Nikki Pynn, “Hyperbolic Wind” by South Carolina sculptor Bob Doster, “Blue Planet” by East Carolina University professor Hanna Jubran and “Waiting for the Train of Thought” by Charlie Brouwer, retired Radford University professor and Floyd County resident.

Cooney said the new exhibit not only improves the visual appeal of Radford’s central business district, but also fuels economic development efforts for the city.

“According to a national survey by the Americans for the Arts organization, 70 percent of Americans believe that the arts improve the image and identity of their communities,” said Cooney. “Towns and cities across the country are creating public art programs as part of their economic development strategies.

“It’s a win-win situation when our cultural landscape not only inspires us but also contributes to the bottom line,” she added.

Two of the sculptures have been installed in highly traveled locations on Tyler Avenue – one near the university’s off-campus art museum and one at the entrance leading to the Admissions Office. The other two are located along the Main Street commercial district – one at Carson’s Courtyard near the Radford Theatre and one on the street in front of Glencoe Mansion, Museum & Art Gallery and the Radford Visitor’s Center.

Dr. Steve Arbury, director of the Radford University Art Museum system, and Susan Lockwood, a Radford resident and award-winning photographer, served as jurors for the competition. The sculptures, made possible in part by a grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, will be on loan until early 2020. For more information, email