Taylor Mentzer is constantly looking for open calls to further her artistic practice. When she saw the City of Ann Arbor’s open submission to design an otherwise overlooked part of the cityscape—manhole covers—she figured why not give it a shot.
“I felt like I could do a good design that would mean something to me and the city,” she said.The public clearly agreed. Mentzer’s design, Kayak, ended up being one of the three winners of the project, along with Laurie Borggreve of Edina, MN for Horizon, and fellow Ann Arbor resident Shaun Whitehouse’s Tower and Tree.
Kayak depicts Mentzer’s favorite part of the city, Argo Park.
“I thought of it because I felt like a lot of other designs might be more city-focused, and I felt like the nature side of Ann Arbor doesn’t really get talked about as often,” Mentzer said.
Making sure all aspects of the city were well represented played a huge role in who was ultimately selected as the contest’s top six finalists, said Mae Skidmore, the Ann Arbor Art Center’s Creative Director. Designs also needed to be able to be produced in cast iron, and should stand out as original works of art. The Art Center was contracted by the City of Ann Arbor to manage the open call and selection of artists.
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