About the Art
A special and one-of-a-kind feature of the Activity and Recreation Center (ARC) is site-specific public art. Artist Norman Courtney was selected in 2000 by the City's Standing Committee on Public Art to create art for the ARC and worked with the project design team until his sculpture was installed in November 2002. The result, a 12-foot tall, 15-foot wide, 1,200 pound figure entering water, is suspended in the atrium, just past the main entry doors of the building. The splash element of the sculpture is evident from the second level exercise track. "Taking the Plunge" was the fourth Percent for Art project to be completed in Columbia.
"I was initially intrigued by the ripple image created by acorns falling into the water that I saw on my first trip there at Rock Bridge State Park. It was such an elegant, simple, instantly recognizable icon for water. I kept coming back to that image over and over as I thought about an artwork for that building. Then the challenge was how to depict that with respect to the human experience of water. To do this I combined the human figure with the ripple. I wanted this figure to be dynamic and address the dimensions of the lobby, especially the vertical dimensions, in order to engage viewers upon entering the building and immediately give them a sense of place. It is also about being bold and being willing to explore the unknown, in this case looking below the surface of the water and entering into another realm of experience or "Taking the Plunge."
-Norman Courtney, November 2002