Week 5 (“Birds of Fire” – sculpture by Ted Sitting Crow Garner)
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(v12.14.14)

Art, Architecture and Design in Columbus, Indiana

This article spotlights a particular building or some other aspect of Columbus design. I welcome your comments, corrections and additions. Please share your experience and perceptions of these uniquely Columbus projects.


“Birds of Fire” – a sculpture by Ted Sitting Crow Garner

  • Artist: Ted Sitting Crow Garner
  • Built: 1979
  • Installed in Columbus: 2006
  • Address: Republic Building – 333 2nd Street (corner of 2nd and Jackson)
  • *Unfortunately this sculpture did not find a permanent home in Columbus 🙁




“Birds of Fire” is an abstract steel sculpture, painted bright orange, designed and fabricated by Ted Sitting Crow Garner. Garner was inspired by the music of John Mclaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, who were in turn inspired by the groups spiritual leader Sri Chinmoy. “Birds of Fire” was a song by the group based upon a Sri Chinmoy devotional poem addressing man’s striving for transcendence.




Garner takes great pride in combining the power and aesthetics of his American Indian heritage with modern techniques and materials using the depth of art history as a resource. Garner’s sculpture, which had previously been displayed in Chicago, was brought here as part of the Columbus Sculpture Invitational in 2006. Although it has been here since that time, it is actually still on temporary loan to the city and can be purchased from the sculptor for $25,000.




Originally located on the grounds of the former Senior Center, it was later given a much more visible spot on a corner in front of the Republic newspaper building. Much like the abstract sculptures in Chicago adjacent to several Mies van der Rohe buildings, this sculpture provides a perfect counterpoint to the Miesian glass box of the Republic newspaper building designed by Myron Goldsmith. Please join me in urging the owners of the Republic to consider making this a permanent addition to our city.


Original installation in Columbus was at the old Senior Center overlooking the East Fork White River.
(photo by Ricky Berkey)





Garner’s abstract sculpture is a nice accent to the Miesian style of the Republic newspaper building
(photo by Ricky Berkey)





Nice accent to the Republic newspaper building
(photo by Ricky Berkey)





Viewed against the side of the Republic newspaper building
(photo by Ricky Berkey)





Located at the front corner of the Republic newspaper building along 2nd Street (State Road 46)
(photo by Ricky Berkey)





Viewed against the Bartholomew County courthouse across the street
(photo by Ricky Berkey)





Viewed against the Bartholomew County courthouse across the street
(photo by Ricky Berkey)





View of the Commons Office Building across the Courthouse lawn
(photo by Ricky Berkey)





View to the 2nd/3rd Street parking garage with the Cole Apartments soon to cover 3 sides
(photo by Ricky Berkey)





Sculpture is in view of heavy traffic on 2nd Street (St Road 46) passing by
(photo by Ricky Berkey)





View to the south
(photo by Ricky Berkey)





Closeup of the base
(photo by Ricky Berkey)





Closeup of the base
(photo by Ricky Berkey)





Artists title and “signature” on the base
(photo by Ricky Berkey)





Sculpture is still for sale. Lets keep it in Columbus. *Unfortunately the sculpture has departed from Columbus. I miss it 🙁
(photo by Ricky Berkey)





The Artist



Ted Sitting Crow Garner

  • Born in Seattle, Washington in 1957
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts: Kansas City Art Institute – Kansas City, Missouri (1982)




Garner is a artist and sculptor from Chicago. He was born in Seattle, Washington. As well as an artist he is also considered a master large sculpture installation specialist. His inspiration for his artistic work is combining the power and aesthetics of his American Indian heritage (he is a member of the Sioux tribe) with modern techniques and materials. He considers the entire output of art history as a resource.




He studied at the Kansas City Art Institute after working as an assistant to sculptors Jerry Peart, John Henry, and Mark di Suvero. His own sculpture has been exhibited widely and he has travelled extensively assisting other artists with large sculpture installations.




His fans were surprised in 2011 when he made several television appearances on the Jeopardy game show Tournament of Champions.




Selected Ted Sitting Crow Garner Projects

“Throne” (1995)
(for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)
Originally in Atlanta, Georgia, now at the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park – University Park, Illinois

“Birds of Fire” (1979)
Columbus, Indiana

“Tussle” (2010)
Fredrick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park – Grand Rapids, Michigan

“Hawk” (2010)
Garfield Park Conservatory – Chicago

“Eye of Newt” (1995)
Western Sculpture Park – St. Paul, Minnesota




Links/References

Columbus Area Visitors Center

City of Columbus: official City of Columbus website

Columbus Indiana Architectural Archives

Columbus Indiana Architecture Digital Archives: A small portion of the Columbus Indiana Architectural Archives available online from the IUPUI digital library

3D Models of Columbus Architecture Executed in Google SketchUp:

The Republic Newspaper – Columbus, Indiana newspaper

Bartholomew County Public Library

Historic Columbus Website – David Sechrest’s tribute to Columbus History

Historic Columbus Message Board – a companion interactive forum to the David Sechrest historical website

Bartholomew County Historical Society

Columbus Area Arts Council




Click HERE for a Calendar of Upcoming Events in the Columbus Area.

Click HERE for information about Tours of Columbus Architecture and Design including the Miller House.





Ricky Berkey

Email me: rickyberkey@gmail.com






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