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Where art, science & sustainability meet

Marc Lefkowitz  |  11/14/07 @ 4:08pm

The wind turbine at the Great Lakes Science Center generates clean, renewable electric power, but more than that, it raises hope. It's a symbol of promise for an area that has seen hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs disappear. The white beacon, in its brief time, has cast a long shadow-daring Northeast Ohio to be prepared for the coming sustainable economy (and ride the current of our manufacturing prowess).

Local artists Allan and Ellen Wexler, working with Cleveland Public Art, have created an exhibit that plays off the literal shadow of the turbine. "Shadow and Light" is a diptych with two slender concrete paths emanating from the base of the turbine. The Wexlers plotted the paths with the help of global positioning satellite technology so that they precisely align with the shadow of turbine and blades at the equinox, which happens on September 21 and March 21, at around 1:15 p.m.

"It calls attention to the elegance and beauty" of the turbine, Ellen Wexler said at yesterday's unveiling ceremony.

"I don't mean to sound presumptuous, but we hope it's like Stonehenge," Allan Wexler added.

For the "light" part of the installation, the Wexlers cast 4,440 one-hundred-watt light bulbs in concrete blocks which are stacked at the base of the turbine. The energy from that many bulbs represents the annual usage of an American household.

Continuing with the sustainability theme, all of the plants removed from the grounds in front of the Science Center to make way for the exhibit were replanted at Morgana Run, a new rails-to-trails project in Cleveland, Cleveland Public Art executive director Greg Peckham said.

Addressing the 75 or so people in attendance, Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman noted the exhibit-like the turbine -sits squarely at the intersection of art, science and sustainability. "Before the turbine, talk about (renewable energy) belonged in a policy manual. Now, it continues to reinvent the landscape."

Photos by Jamie Janos

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