Walk through Haggard Park to the entrance to the historic old Saigling House, where ArtCentre of Plano is headquartered. But don’t go inside just yet. Instead, turn left. Toward the back of the west side of the house, you’ll find a peaceful little sculpture garden where several colorful steel statues stand in even formation, surrounding a paved path.
At night, lights turn on, glowing in the curves and corners of the metal works by artist Jerry Dodd.
This hidden garden is the newest project and the first-ever sculpture exhibit presented by ArtCentre of Plano, a nonprofit supporter of cultural arts and arts education throughout the community. They hold regular exhibits inside Saigling House, featuring many local artists, and drawing attention to Plano’s growing, thriving art scene.
But they have always wanted to exhibit sculptures. ArtCentre Executive Director Suzy Sloan Jones says that the sculpture garden was a longtime dream, and COVID-19 provided the perfect environment for an outdoor exhibit.
“Now that people are spending more time outdoors, we saw a real need to get sculpture into place,” she says.
For the sculpture garden’s first exhibit, ArtCentre chose Jerry Dodd, a Hunt County artist. Dodd is known for colorful, bold constructs of primarily steel. He’s a lifelong artist, as well as a teacher who taught sculpture for 40 years in places as far as New York City and as close as Commerce, Texas. He says his work comes from “a long-time interest in welding and utilizing the extendibility of steel in space.”
One piece on display, “Tether 2,” seems to wrestle with gravity. It features a long base, and a top section, connected by three chains, painted red like the rest of it. The top portion seems suspended in midair, barely tied down to the base, and the chains, gracefully curved, appear ready to drop at any moment.
Another, “Blue Streak,” features thin blades of blue and red. They join together at a single point, under a twisting, boldly-painted top section.
Dodd told Texas Sculpture Garden that even after years of working and teaching, “permanently joining two pieces of steel is still exhilarating.”
He plans to create sculptures until he physically cannot.
When guests walk along the path between the sculptures, the metal works appear like parts of the same whole. Married in color and spirit, they provide a cohesive, satisfying experience.
Jones finds Dodd’s work as “interesting and familiar,” which makes it a lovely opening number for their long-awaited sculpture garden.
“I love watching people’s reactions once they discover the artistry of the sculptures,” she says.