Artists create colorful bike racks for Norman

Norman soon will have bike racks with personality. A competition, sponsored by Norman Arts Council Public Arts Board, attracted 200 designs from artists throughout the state. The project will begin with five winning designs.
BY CHRIS JONES, For The Oklahoman Modified: March 30, 2013 at 10:48 pm •  Published: April 1, 2013
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— Norman soon will have bike racks with personality. Colorful, creative bicycle racks will brighten areas of Campus Corner and Downtown Norman in May.

A competition, sponsored by Norman Arts Council Public Arts Board, attracted 200 designs from artists throughout the state. The project will begin with five winning designs.

Erinn Gavaghan, executive director of Norman Arts Council, said Jonathan Fowler, a member of the Norman Public Arts Board, suggested the concept to the board.

“I learned about a project in Toledo, Ohio,” Fowler said. “They have had great success with public arts there, and recently completed a two-year bike rack program.”

Fowler said the artists needed to submit their designs according to certain specifications. McPherson Machine Shop in Newcastle will handle the fabrication process.

“Bike racks don't have to be ugly,” Gavaghan said. “This project demonstrates how something utilitarian becomes a work of art.”

Dustin Gilpin, a graphic artist for his company, Tree and Leaf Clothing in Oklahoma City, said the design project caught his eye because he is an active cyclist.

“I thought, well, this is cool,” Gilpin said. “It's a unique way to create a sculpture.”

He described his winning design “Ride Fast,” as clean, simple and straightforward, with enough loops for multiple bikes.

Cycle psyched

Debbie Kaspari, Norman artist, illustrator and designer, and winner of two designs, said she couldn't pass the competition up for a number of reasons.

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