If you bump into Eugene later this week by Schlow Centre Region Library, be sure to say hi.
Schlow, CATA and the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts have announced that a new sculpture — a joint project of the three agencies — will take up a position near a busy street corner in front of the CATA office.
Dubbed “Downtown Eugene Brown,” the 6-foot bronze statue is scheduled for installation on Wednesday.
Eugene, an elderly man, carries Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations” in his pocket.
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He also wears headphones and holds a tablet computer.
“What you have in the statue is a gentleman who is both a bus rider and a library patron showing the bridge between the 20th and the 21st century,” Schlow Communications Manager Susanna Paul said.
The statue was commissioned by the three organizations, with Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts Executive Director Rick Bryant heading up the project.
“The festival has done other public art projects,” Bryant said, including work in the Paterno Library and the architecture library.
More than 100 entries from 36 states and Canada were received over two years, according to an arts festival news release.
A selection committee composed of Schlow and CATA staff along with members of the community chose the work, Paul said.
“Our prospectus said where it was going to go ... right in the heart of downtown State College,” Bryant said.
“And we talked about how technologically advanced CATA and Schlow Library were.”
The proposals ran the spectrum from traditional to abstract forms of art, he said — from sound, light and video to sculpture.
Ultimately, the committee chose the statue created by Frederick, Md., sculptor Gavin Gardner.
“The work commemorates the meeting between paper books and technology, the welcoming of a new era,” Gardner said in the release.
“He’s put away his paperback for a minute to try new technology. You could say he represents the crossroads of the past and present.”
Gardner based the sculpture on his grandfather, Eugene, who he described a technologically savvy, Bryant said.
The statue was funded by Richard and Sally Kalin, of State College.
“My wife and I have been involved in the arts of State College for a long time,” Richard Kalin said, “and we do what we can to promote the arts in the downtown. We’re very committed to the borough.”
Eugene even has his own Twitter handle, @DTEugeneBrown, where he tweets about his status and how he’s looking forward to his new State College digs.