Las Colinas park adds sculpture, ‘New Beginning’

Photo: The newest addition to Flagpole Hill, “New Beginning” sits at an intersection of paths. /Photo by Courtney Ouellette

Daily stress like traffic and the hustle and bustle of city life are a regular part of most peoples’ lives. Everyday worries and annoyances make the “Sculpture in the Park” on Flagpole Hill a welcome refuge for those seeking a place of serenity.

The Las Colinas Park Foundation and the Las Colinas Association, in partnership with the City of Irving celebrated the newest sculpture featured in the park, titled ‘New Beginnings,’ during a ceremony at University Hills’ Flagpole Hill on Tuesday, May 10.

“We took this little park, and I wanted to find something that would hold 5-6 sculptures and represent and impact the community with its presence – a sculpture garden,” said Heinz Simon, President of Las Colinas Park Foundation.

The group of contemporary sculptures was created by four different artists. The fifth and newest sculpture was created by Dale Lamphere, who also contributed ‘Autumn,’ the second sculpture to grace Flagpole Hill.

Each of the pieces are made of materials that hold up against Texas weather, including steel and stone, rather than a material like bronze, which requires far more maintenance.

“We’ve schedule this dedication for the purpose of hopefully getting the word out more to the general public about the impact of public art,” Simon said. “The value it generates for the properties it embraces, and peoples’ opinion of that property. People tend to respect land with public art more than they do without it.”

The Las Colinas Park Foundation began in 2000, because members like Simon wanted to pursue projects that went beyond the scope of the Las Colinas Association and its budget.

“Our first project was the Ben Carpenter monument on Riverside Drive,” Simon said. “We worked together with the Carpenter family, and we raised the money to build the plaza and surrounding area.”

Like Simon, Las Colinas Association Chairman Al Zapanta traced the Foundation’s legacy back to Ben Carpenter.

“Ben Carpenter’s vision for Las Colinas was open space that residents and the general public could interact and enjoy our planned urban community,” Zapanta said. “University Hills was the first residential community in Las Colinas.”

The Las Colinas Park Foundation in partnership with the Las Colinas Association began its endeavors in 2010 with ‘Origin,’ the first sculpture.

Wearing more than just her Director of the Las Colinas Association hat, Mayor Beth Van Duyne explained the important role public art plays in a city.

“The importance and benefits of having art in public spaces; well it’s very hard to quantify, but you know if it’s missing,” Van Duyne said. “But you also notice when it’s there, because it’s something that, whether or not you just stop and look at it, or you stop and talk about it, or you take a moment and you think about it, it’s a tremendous asset. And it’s not just from a cultural or feeling perspective, but it’s also the quality of the community.

“The best communities in the world and the longest lasting communities have always prioritized art and culture, but it’s also from a pragmatic standpoint. As mayor, we look at it from an economic development standpoint.

“An article recently talked about how people want to see and pick different cities; 99 percent, 99 percent, said that a cultural aspect of a city is a number one thing they prioritize. So it’s not just from a ‘oh it makes us feel good’ standpoint, it actually in the end helps us generate revenue, gets jobs here,” she said.

“I am thrilled to be able to be here today, looking at this art. Looking at this art as an example of the type of community that you live in, it makes you feel good,” Van Duyne said. “You look at Las Colinas and there’s a richness about it.”

At the ceremony’s close, Mayor Van Duyne officially turned over the safekeeping and maintenance of the sculpture to the Las Colinas Association.