$15,000 buzz at former Air Force base

by dan guzewich Staff writer

A man wielding a chainsaw will make the trip through Griffiss business park a little more interesting this summer.

Roman Jim McDermid has been commissioned to create a sculpture from a hollow maple tree trunk that measures 20 feet tall and 3 feet in diameter as part of an artist-in-residence program. He will be sculpting on his piece from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday until it’s complete, probably in the middle of September.

The cost of the project is about $15,000.

The public is invited to stop and watch him the wood chips fly on Chanute Street, next to the GLDC maintenance garage, across Griffiss Parkway from AmeriCU Credit Union.
“The piece will have aspects of flight, and aspects of working hands. What Griffiss and the region are about,” the sculptor said.

McDermid works in varied media, but is probably best known for his wood sculptures, including one he created on Elmer Hill Road in the Town of Western in 1995. That piece, carved from a standing tree trunk and entitled “Lady of the Lake,” collapsed about two years ago after it was struck by a vehicle.

“I’m drawn to working in wood using a chainsaw, to physically shape it into being,” he explains of his craft. “There is excitement and beauty in the way wood is removed and forms emerge with the energy of the saw.”

After its completion, the work will be added to the collection in the Griffiss outdoor sculpture garden. Nine outdoor sculptures were installed around the business park last year.
The tree, thought to be more than 120 years old, was donated by the City of Utica, through the Parks and Recreation Department. It was trucked to Griffiss today.

McDermid’s project is a collaboration of Griffiss Local Development Corp. and the Griffiss Park Landowners Association. Schools and other community groups can schedule special showings with the artist through the Mohawk Valley EDGE office.

McDermid is an artist educator with a bachelors of fine arts degree from Syracuse University and a master’s of fine arts from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan.

He has previously participated is artist-in-residency programs at the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Arts in Education Institute of Utica. Exhibitions of his work can be found at Rome Art and Community Center, Munson-Williams-Proctor Museum of Art and the Neptune Gallery, both in Utica, Kirkland Art Center and Little Falls Center for the Arts.

More information can be found at: Rome Sentinel

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