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"Frozen Assets" Named One of Best Public Artworks

photos courtesy of Matthew Farley

Americans for the Arts recently announced its 2010 Public Art Year in Review, recognizing 40 of the best public artworks in the United States and Canada. On the list: only one Midwest artist, based in Lawrence, who highlights global water issues sculpting with plastic water bottles. KCUR's Laura Spencer reports.By Laura Spencer


Kansas City, MO – Matthew Farley's "Frozen Assets" is a temporary public art installation, a frozen fountain of about a thousand empty plastic water bottles. Farley skewered bottles on to rebar and shaped them into the arcs of a fountain in a traffic circle on the campus of the University of Kansas in Lawrence. It was first installed in December 2008 through the winter, and reinstalled in December 2009.

Farley, who also used plastic bottles in his 2009 Avenue of the Arts public art installation in Kansas City, says his work explores the way we view and use water in our daily lives.

"It would be great if we could have more functionality in fountains, in terms of what they could do," says Farley. "Whether that's providing water, or treating water, or becoming more sustainable."

Farley graduated from KU in 2009 with a bachelor's of fine arts degree, with an emphasis in sculpture. The piece was created for a special topics class in public art.

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