In December, 2015, OSPA&D embarked on its first private commissioned pieces. It turned out to be a project that really opened up our artisans’ creativity and talent.
Phil Szeliga, owner of Human Electronics and his wife Connie Pratt, owner of the new “sip and paint” business Art & Vine, are big supporters of Downtown Utica. They have owned a building in Downtown since 2003 and are active in helping revitalize and enliven the area. Phil was introduced to OSPA&D through his work with the Downtown Utica working group and really liked the concept of putting people to work making beautiful streetscape pieces. He witnessed what we could do during the One World Flower Festival in May, 2015, and purchased some of our wooden planters to place in front of their office building.
When they decided to commission two litter receptacles to further beautify the facade of their building, they opted to give Cathy and our artisans full creative freedom. They did initially discuss featuring some well known pieces of art on each panel, but aside from that, they left the selection of the artwork and process to us.
Phil and Connie were also the first recipients of a new receptacle design which features a custom designed powder coated metal frame that the panels attach to. The new design is more durable and easier to replace a panel if the need arises.
Upon delivery, our team was so proud of their work and Phil and Connie were beyond pleased with the finished product. The chosen artwork reflects some of the pieces that are painted in Connie’s classes,and they fit in perfectly to the mission and atmosphere of Art & Vine.
The project was extremely unique and fulfilled many purposes – beautifying a downtown facade, allowing private business owners to support another downtown entity, providing work for our artisans and producing functional receptacles that are also works of art themselves.
The fine art pieces featured on the cans are: Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” Gustav Klimt’s “Tree of Life” Claude Monet’s “Water Lilies” a Georgia O’Keefe flower Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” Henri Matisse’s “Interior in Yellow and Blue” Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring”