Sunday, May 24, 2009
Move more kids: Big Shoe is in town
Melissa Gaspar is the director of the Skowhegan Free Public Library, Maine and recently unveiled a giant shoe statue outside her library. The metal sculpture of an athletic shoe in motion was created by artist Barry Norling. He was commissioned by the library to fashion a 6-foot-tall, 2-foot-wide sculpture of an athletic shoe as part of the library's Community Art and Heritage Project. The work was paid for through a $3,000 grant from the Maine Community Foundation. The statue is a tribute to all the men and women who over the years have worked in the shoe industry. Skowhegan was once the centre of shoe manufacture and had seven factories in the local area. Now only New Balance remains. The shoe was formed from buffed and welded aluminium and weighs approx., 60-80 pounds. It is mounted on a 70-pound steel base, with wheels so it can be moved easily and has a leaded toe to prevent tipping over if children climb inside it. The shoe in action pose is to represent the "Move More Kids" initiative sponsored by the New Balance Foundation to help prevent childhood obesity. The shoe sculpture was also designed to bring attention to local walking tours. New Balance remains the only company that still manufactures athletic shoes domestically in the US with the rest made off-shore. The US currently is the world’s largest importer of footwear.