If people aren’t talking about it, why do it? You’ve got to have some people on both sides … to make it interesting, really. If there isn’t some for and against, what have you really accomplished? – Milt Neeley
COALVLLE — It started as a project to beautify Main Street, but the "Leaf Dancer" sculpture raised a few eyebrows.
Is she naked? Are the leaves covering enough?
So some started covering the sculpture, and the city is embracing the idea.
The statue was commissioned two years ago when Coalville and the Summit County Public Art Advisory Board decided to beautify Main Street. Controversial is how many described the sculpture.
"We thought it was immodest," Coalville resident Bridget Wright said, "so we started taking old clothes that we didn't need anymore, too small or too big, or whatever and we dressed her up."
Others followed, dressing the artwork at night. One day, the "Leaf Dancer" would be wearing a grass skirt and coconuts; another, she looked like she was a sidekick to Disney's Captain Jack Sparrow.
Far from being offended, artist Milt Neeley saw the sculpture being dressed as a city embracing his art. And he's fine if people don't like it.
"If people aren't talking about it, why do it? You've got to have some people on both sides … to make it interesting, really," Neeley said. "If there isn't some for and against, what have you really accomplished?"
City officials soon realized that the "Leaf Dancer" was attracting a few tourists who would drive by to check out what she was wearing. So they've decied to encourage the wardrobe changes.
During 10 weeks of summer, from June 14 to Aug. 16, 10 residents of Coalville will have a chance to dress the statue. Applicants must be at least 14 years old and be a resident of the city.
"We're looking for diversity, we're looking for taste, and we're looking for somebody who promises to dress it by midnight every Thursday night," said Lola Beatlebrox, from the Summit County Public Art Advisory Board.
Those who are selected to dress Ivy, as she's nicknamed, will be given a $25 thank you gift from the city and a $20 costume allowance. A brief bio and picture of their creation will also be featured on the city's website. Applications can be found at coalvillecity.org.