Before long, visitors to Manning’s Trestle Park might lock their bikes on a colorful steel bike rack mimicking the design of an iconic Manning structure and sit down on an attached bench to peruse a book or newspaper.
That public art project is one of several designed and proposed by Iowa State University students that Manning might move forward with implementing.
Through one of the city’s frequent partnerships with Iowa State University, Manning solicited public art designs from ISU students in an interdisciplinary class taught by Department of Architecture lecturer Reinaldo Correa. After a meeting Saturday with Correa, city and economic-development representatives narrowed down the proposed designs in their continued quest to choose at least three, if not more, of the projects to be constructed in Manning. They plan to raise funds or seek out grants to complete as many of the projects as possible, said Ron Reischl, chair of Main Street Manning’s Business Improvement Committee.
The class was tasked with designing public art, signage or structures for three areas — at the Trestle Park planned at the north edge of Manning, at the entrance to the city’s German Hausbarn and the Carroll County Freedom Rock and along Highway 141 by the city’s Little League baseball fields. Students visited Manning in September before crafting their designs.
Many of the projects students proposed were interactive — including a metal sculpture that incorporates monkey bars, a sculpture kids can walk through that mimics the image of grasses blown by the wind and a tree-like sculpture that catches the wind in its “leaves” as children spin it, merry-go-round style, to create natural music.
One design depicts a fire pit at Trestle Park, incorporating bricks from Main Street and a protective metal grate designed to resemble Iowa’s prairie grasses.
One of Manning’s finalists for the artwork along Highway 141 was designed by student Tara Kraft and features four steel columns, one to represent each of Manning’s popular attractions — the water tower, the railroad trestle, the German Hausbarn and Trinity Church. LED lights inside the tower-like structures would light them up at night.
Students offered a variety of sign ideas for advertising the Hausbarn and Freedom Rock as well, ranging from one featuring a soldier and firefighter to a pyramid-like structure announcing the attractions.
The assignment allowed students to move past computer work and see how their work might be implemented in the real world, Correa said.
“Coming up with these ideas and seeing they can become a physical thing is very rewarding,” he said. “As they’re transitioning from academia to the professional world, it’s a story future employers would be very captivated to hear.”
Once Manning selects several projects to pursue, the city and Correa might work with the students whose designs are chosen to complete more extensive design work, Correa said.
In addition to hoping to complete projects in each of the three proposed places, Manning officials also are looking at ways to incorporate other student designs throughout the city, such as at the hospital green space or in “parklets” that are being considered for Main Street, Reischl said.
The collaboration with this ISU class has been vital in Manning’s economic-development efforts, he added.
“To include artwork and add culture to our effort of improving quality of life will encourage people, especially younger generations with children, to consider Manning as a place to live,” Reischl said.
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