Hot Ford Road art has incredibly cool backstory
Eye-catching sculptures are part of multi-state enhancement program
The thought-provoking, eye-catching sculptures placed strategically along Canton’s chaotic Ford Road are much more than randomly-placed art – especially the larger-than-life chicken strutting its stuff just south of the Target parking lot.
The thought-provoking, eye-catching sculptures placed strategically along Canton’s chaotic Ford Road are much more than randomly-placed art – especially the larger-than-life chicken strutting its stuff just south of the Target parking lot.The display of hard-to-miss eye candy is part of the township’s partnership with the Midwest Sculpture Initiative, a Blissfield, Michigan-based program developed to provide outdoor sculpture exhibitions throughout the Midwest, promote cooperation among art and civic organizations and to advance the role visual arts play in the quality of life and economic development of communities.
Toledo, Belleville and Detroit are among several Midwest cities which have joined Canton in the project.
Sculptures that make it to Ford Road – there are approximately 10 new pieces that survive the cut every spring – are delivered in early-May and remain on display until April 15 of the following year … most of the time, that is.
“Each year the Downtown Development Authority is provided with about 400 sculptures that we have to narrow down to 10,” explained Canton DDA Director Amy Hamilton. “At the base of each sculpture is information about the piece, including the sculptor’s name, contact information and the sculpture’s price.
“There are times when people like a sculpture so much they’ll purchase it before the year is up, so (MSI Director) Ken Thompson will give us a heads-up that we’ll have to replace the sold sculpture with one of our alternate selections.”
The distinct sculptures often challenge the imagination of onlookers, which is part of the beauty of the program, Hamilton explained.
While all of the art is appreciated, the giant chicken sculpture – nicknamed “Meet Chuck” – is near and dear to the hearts of Canton difference-makers like Hamilton. “Chuck” was purchased by the township to pay homage to longtime township icon Melissa McLaughlin, who passed away in 2020.
A former township treasurer, trustee and DDA chair, McLaughlin had a unique fondness for the chicken sculpture, which symbolizes Canton’s rich farming past.
“There is a plaque on ‘Meet Chuck’ that is dedicated to Melissa, who really loved it because of its fun and whimsical tie to Canton’s farming history,” Hamilton said. “We put a QR code on it so people can scan it and learn more about the amazing role she played in making Canton what it is today.”
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