Since August 2016, Damien Vera’s shimmering sculpture, <Cope>, has delighted visitors of Rye Town Park. Until recently, the sculpture was on loan from the Art Students League of New York as part of The Rye Arts Center’s Public Art Initiative. But with the approval of The Rye Town Park Commission, the Center has purchased the sculpture so that it can remain in the park permanently.
The 14-foot tall sculpture was first installed in Manhattan’s Riverside Park along the Hudson in 2012. Comprised of five curved steel towers, the outward-facing sides of each are made of stainless steel. The inward-facing sides consist of a more harsh and industrial steel. Hidden within each structure is a sculpture of a human figure, visible through a small slit. The figures will only be seen by the most inquisitive of viewers. Vera wanted to create an environment with which the viewer could interact.
Cast against the beachside park, some see the structures as sails or fins, while others see a shining claw breaking through the earth. The artist encourages viewers to use their imagination and find their own interpretation.
“This was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up,” said Rye Arts Center Executive Director Meg Rodriguez. “We’ve received an overwhelmingly positive response for the piece and were given the chance to purchase it for a fraction of its value.”
Funds to purchase and maintain the sculpture were provided by Rye Arts Center patrons Gail and Ted Roman and The Wallace Fox Foundation. “As a permanent installation in Rye Town Park,” said Gail, “Cope is a wonderful manifestation of The Arts Center’s mission to inspire everyone’s interest in art that is ‘characterized by artistic tradition, educational value, and a spirit of innovation.’”
Damien Vera, who grew up visiting Playland, says, “The location just felt right.”