City selects four artists as finalists in bid to replace Shoeless Joe statue in West End

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The plaza in the West End by Smoke on the Water restaurant, where the Shoeless Joe Statue once stood, will have a 3D sculpture in summer 2018.

Four finalists have been chosen by the city of Greenville for a piece of public art it is commissioning to replace the Shoeless Joe Jackson statue in the West End Plaza.

Michael Szivo, founder of the New York city-based design studio SOFTlab; Michael Kalish, an artist known for creating sculptures from automobile license plates; Adam Buente, co-founder of ProjectiOne, a Muncie, Ind.-based digital design and fabrication studio; and Po Shu Wang, a California-based artist; will be asked to submit project proposals.

In its request for qualifications, the city said it is looking for an “aesthetically pleasing, contemporary work of public art that is uplifting and will inspire public interaction and conversation” and will integrate with the existing architecture and public space.

“Artwork that incorporates or integrates lighting (preferably LED lighting) as a design component would be a plus, but externally illuminated artwork will also be considered,” the guidelines said.

The finalists will each receive $2,500 design stipends to travel to Greenville to view the site, which is the plaza adjacent to the intersection of Main and Augusta streets and an important link between Main Street’s shopping and dining and Falls Park, said Tracy Ramseur, a development coordinator for Greenville and the city’s staff liaison to the Arts in Public Places Commission.

Eighty-two artists submitted qualifications. The commission, while working with Madison, Wisc.-based consultant CODAworx, narrowed the list to four.

The guidelines said the artwork would require a “degree of transparency in materials and/or form so daylight and views are not obstructed.” A lighting component needs to be integrated into the design for illumination, making the artwork visible at night, the guidelines said.

The city intends to redesign the plaza in concert with the new art piece.

Ramseur said the final artist selection is expected by August and the artwork would be installed summer 2018.

The city has budgeted $90,000 for the art.


Szivos is the founder and owner of SOFTlab, a New York City-based design studio that has designed and produced projects across almost every medium, from digitally fabricated large-scale sculpture to immersive digital video installations. The studio has worked with MoMA, the New Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and has exhibited in galleries throughout New York City.


Kalish has turned license plates into likenesses of Marilyn Monroe and Mickey Mouse, gun parts into a sculpture that takes a stand against gun violence, and 1,300 punching bags into a three-story 3-D sculpture of boxing great Muhammad Ali’s face.


Buente is the co-founder of ProjectiOne, a Muncie, Ind.-based digital design and fabrication studio. One of the firm’s projects, “Alloy,” was selected as the winner for the Sister Cities Artwork Competition at the Indianapolis City-County Building Plaza. Buente has a master’s of architecture degree from Ball State University.


Wang is a California-based artist who has done more than 30 public art projects. He is designing a sculpture that will overlook the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Rotary Club. A sensor in the river will measure the speed of the current and the height of the river, and send the information to a tower that will convert it to sound.

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