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John Sauve
Detroit Opera House
1526 Broadway St , detroit, michigan 48226
June 14, 2013 - June 14, 2013


Man in the City on the Rooftops

DETROIT, MI - A woman recently called Lyon Township to ask about a large orange cutout of a man along Interstate 96 north of Detroit. The sculpture had been scaring her child, who couldn't sleep at night because he was sure he had seen Freddy Kruger along the highway hours earlier.

That is according to John Sauve, the man behind the steel sculpture, who told MLive that the child's reaction to his Man in the City urban exhibition represents what he expects from everyone who views his sculptures: "It can be a frightening image a times, it can be someone you are, or someone you might be," Sauve said. "I don’t want to plant too many seeds, because everyone has their own identification with it. I like people to embrace it for what it is and make it their own."

Sauve's goal is not to scare children. Far from it, actually. The experienced public art sculptor instead said he draws his energy from working with children, and has launched the Sauve Art Foundation alongside Man in the City to support arts education for children in Detroit.

Man in the City includes about 30 steel sculptures on rooftops throughout Detroit (see gallery). Sauve launched the project in 2008, and has had exhibits in Benton Harbor and in New York City, including Governor’s Island and The High Line.

In Detroit, the 43" sculptures will be installed for two years, while fundraisers are held to benefit children’s art programs in Detroit. The first such fundraiser is this Thursday at the UDetroit Cafe, and will be raising money for the Carr Center Children's Music Program.

Sauve has already been working with about 25 middle school students through YouthWorks-Detorit. He has asked the kids to decorate their own Man in the City replicas, made of wood, and their creations will be displayed at a fundraiser at Woodbridge Pub in April.

"This is not about creating little artists who go on to be sculptors," Sauve said. "It’s about kids reaching a goal. It's something that can transfer to all aspects of life."

He has worked on similar projects with youths in Benton Harbor and in Royal Oak, and the results have had a lasting impact on him, he said. He said the project in Detroit reflects his "social agenda" for using public art to improve children's lives while he himself also draws energy from the youths.

The sculptures in Detroit can be found downtown, Midtown and elsewhere. "We're kind of spreading them throughout the city," Sauve said. "There's some more that are going to be installed. The idea is to create these destinations in the city."

Of the sculptures themselves, he added, "There's no right or wrong answer to any of it, it's just a public art project that creates discussion and dialogue."



Posted by John Sauvé on 6/14/13

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