Good Question: What’s the meaning behind the bird statue in Penfield?
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — This good question has to do with an art project taking flight in Penfield. It’s hard to miss, a large silver bird at a busy suburban intersection.
It’s a unique example of public art on private land with a powerful message of peace.
Laura from Geneseo writes: “I noticed that a large statue has been erected at the corner of Atlantic Ave. and Five Mile Line Drive in Penfield. It’s a silver winged statue, beautiful! I was wondering about the meaning of it as well as the sculptor, so I called the Penfield Highway Department but they said it’s not their statue. Any clue?”
Jay Seaman, the artist, said: “It’s meant to be inspiring, uplifting, it wanted to embrace the, well, the suffering that we all went through the pandemic especially and that corner lot is so busy.”
That corner is the last remaining undeveloped piece of land in that intersection, which is what drew Kristina Hutch Matthews and Mindy Maclaren to it in the first place.
Kristina owns the Penfield Art Center. Mindy is a local preservationist. The two didn’t know each other until they discovered that they shared a mutual interest in preserving that corner. They purchased it together in 2018.
In 2020, they installed a sign saying “it will get better spread love” but that got vandalized.
So, in August of this year, they went bigger, installing a one ton stainless steel sculpture, depicting a hybrid of a dove and a phoenix by artist Jay Seaman.
“Whatever comes to them as they look at it, that’s art and so, we want people just to be uplifted,” Seaman said.
A sign on the site reads the “idea to uplift and support the community through art was mobilized when the COVID-19 pandemic began and the world became even more polarized. We believe that the unspoken positive messages conveyed through art can bring us together.”
The public is invited to enjoy the piece, but keep in mind that it is private land, so the landowners ask that you let them know about your visit ahead of time.
They hope to add more plants to attract wildlife and butterflies to pollinate the area in the future, and they welcome any volunteers who want to help out with landscaping.
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