Dewitt Godfrey (1960-)

Enspire, 2017 banded steel

Enspire, a commemorative sculptured honoring Bryan Crough (1954-2017), long time Executive Director of the Downtown Development Authority, whose bold and untiring vision helped shape the success and uniqueness of Traverse City’s Downtown, was dedicated on June 13, 2017, what would have been his 63rd birthday.

This light-filled and seemingly weightless sculpture is comprised of tons of weathering steel alloy designed to rust up to a certain point. The sculpture is composed of more than 100 various sized bands of steel formed into circles and ovals and bolted together in situ to form a honeycomb shape that encourages visitors to walk inside, peek through its openings and enjoy the light reflected off its metal. It is located in Lay Park and took the artist, DeWitt Godfrey, and four assistants four days to install.

Mr Godfrey says “Even though it’s pretty substantial, it’s light and airy. When you’re inside, it reframes your sense of the world — you see little pieces of sky and trees.” The sculpture is the first installation commissioned by the newly formed Traverse City Arts Commission to manage and advance public art. It was funded by more than $25,000 in donations and a matching grant by Rotary Charities. Mr Godfrey was selected for the project from about 50 applicants.

“We wanted a contemporary piece of art that captured Bryan’s spirit,” said Arts Commission Chair Bevan’s Gillett. “His spirit was one of being a catalyst, being a connector, being fun, loving life, loving community, and working together.

Dewitt Godfrey is Professor of Art and Art History at Colgate University. He received his B. A. in Art from Yale University in 1982, and an MFA from Edinburgh College of Art as a Fulbright Scholar in 1996. Mr Godfrey is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including the National Endowment for the Arts, the Henry Luce Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Japan Foundation, among others. He is currently a Board member of the College Art Association and formerly the Director of the Institute for Creative and Performing Arts at Colgate University.

Type of Public Art: Sculpture Public Art Program Category: Permanent Work

Artist

Dewitt Godfrey is an American sculptor, best known for his large abstract constructions of banded steel installed in public sites. Godfrey was born in Houston, Texas and raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He graduated from Yale University in 1982 and went on to earn a Masters in Fine Arts in Sculpture from the Edinburgh College of Art as a Fulbright Scholar in 1996. Godfrey is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including the National Endowment for the Arts, the Henry Luce Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Japan Foundation, among others.

Go See It

The sculpture is located on the corner of Washington Street and Boar

 
 

Reviews

 

It reframes your sense of the world.

“I think of it as an updated gazebo, a place for contemplation and introspection.” “Even though it’s pretty substantial, it’s light and airy. When you’re inside, it reframes your sense of the world — you see little pieces of sky and trees.”

— Dewitt Godfrey, 2017

We wanted a contemporary piece of art that captured Bryan’s spirit!

“We wanted a contemporary piece of art that captured Bryan’s spirit, his spirit was one of being a catalyst, being a connector, being fun, loving life, loving community, working together, gathering.”

— Mary Evans Gillett, 2017

It is symbolic of so much about placemaking and community.

“I like the forms it’s taking on, the way the light plays off it. What I love about it the most is the shape. It is symbolic of so much about placemaking and community. It’s such an important piece to start our public art project.”

— Todd McMillen, 2017