ROYAL OAK, Mich. – In 1972, Tony Smith’s Gracehoper was installed on the North Lawn of the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA). After years of natural wear and tear from the elements, the Gracehoper was due for a refresh. It got its first conservation treatment in 1985 and then received an assessment in 2012. That 2012 assessment led the conservators to develop a solution using state-of-the-art paint technology that will last 15-20 years. The conservation team developed a plan that would keep the iconic Gracehoper in its beautiful spot on the north lawn at the DIA for decades to come.
Sterling Oil and Chemical were one of the many sponsors to help conserve the art installation. Jason Eddleston, VP of Operations at Sterling Oil, was on the board of the Founders Junior Council at the DIA at the time and through that relationship and his love of the arts, had Sterling join a group of donors to help offset the cost for the upkeep of the Gracehoper.
Gracehoper sits 22.5 feet tall and is 46 feet long with a depth of 23 feet. It was, in 1972, the largest outdoor sculpture to be put together in the United States with Smith saying it is one of his most successful sculptures. The sculpture was assembled in six segments at the Industrial Welding Company of Newark, New Jersey. Smith created the Gracehoper as an edition of three with one being the artists proof, the second one stands tall in Louisville, Ky., at the Louisville Waterfront Park, and the first edition sits on the north lawn at the DIA.
This is one of many art installations or involvement with individual artists that Sterling has donated money or volunteered their time to including Hamtramck Disneyland, Mutual Adoration, Birmingham Public Arts board and their Piano in the Park series, and Royal Oak’s Piano on the Street series. As part of Sterling’s mission they will continue to support the arts for the betterment of the community.
Art is important to the mind, so as you spend your afternoons and evenings outside this summer, remember to stop by the numerous parks around town and enjoy all the sculptures and the art you can. And as always, stay six-feet apart and inspire with an artistic facemask.