Artist creates public sculpture mounted in front of Hannibal Aquatic Center; three more sculptures to come


Artist Jessoe Cargas and her sculpture, "Metal Splash" | Photo courtesy of Hannibal Arts Council

HANNIBAL, Mo. — Hannibal’s first public art sculpture recently was installed in a partnership with the Hannibal Arts Council and Hannibal Parks and Recreation as part of the “Sculpture on the Move” program. The sculpture, called “Metal Splash” was mounted on a base in front of the Hannibal Aquatic Center, 1700 Pleasant.

Artist Jessie Cargas drove the 6.5-feet tall steel structure to Hannibal in her pickup truck. She said the sculpture took her several months to construct, and she was happy to find it a home that has vehicular and foot traffic for viewing.

“It’s exciting to be a part of this art program in Hannibal,” Cargas said in a press release.

Cargas, a former math and science teacher from Rosebud, Mo., now is a metal sculpture artist who also substitute teaches.

Cargas said the process from idea to finished sculpture starts with a sketch with paper and pencil, then with computer-aided drafting software. She sends her computer drawings to a metal fabricating company that cuts the metal pieces. Once she has the pieces, she cleans, grinds and sands the pieces before starting to roll, bend or weld them together. Cargas uses three pieces of equipment to create her sculptures — a welding machine, sandblaster and an industrial-age slip roller.

Michael Gaines, Hannibal Arts Council director, spearheaded the fund-raising event for the Sculpture on
the Move program. A Facebook campaign raised $2,000, and the Hannibal Arts Council donated another $2,000, enough to lease four sculptures for the first year. Another $4,000 will must be raised for the second year of the sculpture’s time in Hannibal.

In a press release, Gaines said, “The Hannibal Arts Council is proud to help bring public sculpture to Hannibal for the first time. We think it is very cool. We’re especially proud that we were able to select three Missouri artists, including a female sculptress and two sculptures from Nick Willett, who is originally from Hannibal.”

Gaines noted the HAC has been involved in other public art projects like the mural partnership with the Rotary Club of Hannibal and the Traffic Box Art Project in partnership with Hannibal Board of Public Works and the Hannibal Area Chamber of Commerce. This is the first time for art sculptures.

The Hannibal Arts Council joined the Creative Communities Alliance to be among 20 communities eligible to participate in the program and choose among more than 150 sculptures. The works are original pieces by regional and national artists.

Three more sculptures will be installed in Hannibal this summer at the Hannibal Arts Council, at Nipper Park at the riverfront and at a location to be determined.

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