Cliff Diver, chair of the Lewes Public Art Committee, said if Lewes is able to secure the services of DeWitt Godfrey for its 2023 public art installation, it will help bring merit to the city’s sculpture program. He also said it won’t be cheap and must be done with haste.
Diver believes acquiring the sculpture, which is made of metal and resembles a gazebo, will eat up the committee’s entire budget of $15,000. Diver noted there are a lot of moving parts, including logistics of transportation, and that a decision is needed on whether to pursue terms with Godfrey sooner rather than later. Councilman Tim Ritzert, ex officio committee member, asked Diver if there was any way to preserve the budget for educational purposes and to seek private funding. Ritzert recalled past meetings when it was established that the budget was supposedly set for educating the public about art. Diver said the committee’s budget isn’t a large amount and doesn’t put a huge dent in the city’s finances.
Diver said when they acquire pieces of art for temporary exhibitions, the artists make very little profit from the transaction, and a lot of the money goes toward shipping. He said he feels that by bringing in the piece of art for people to look at, they are educating the public. Committee member Nancy Leeman made a successful motion to enter into negotiations with Godfrey to temporarily acquire his sculpture for $15,000.
A graduate of Yale University and Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland, Godfrey’s sculptures are inspired by natural geometries and systems. He has installed sculptures at Frederick Meijer Garden and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Mich.; the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln, Mass.; and the Kennedy Art Museum at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. While committee members have yet to settle on a location for the sculpture, Diver said an investment of this size will require a prominent spot, and Canalfront Park was briefly discussed.
Approval by the committee was necessary before the committee could discuss terms of the installation with Godfrey, and a firm timeline has not yet been established. This is the second project the committee has considered for 2023, with the first project becoming too expensive due to the increased popularity of artist Amanda Brower.