ReCycle summer sculpture project

This bicycle, spotted on RAGBRAI in 2012, sported an impressive 'bikestache.' The reCycle summer sculpture project encourages community members to transform bicycles into works of public art. (Press photo by Molly Moser)

By Molly Moser

A new group of volunteers have come together under the umbrella of Shepherd Gallery and Creativity Center to organize a summer sculpture project they call ‘reCycle.’ The project is open to all members of the community, and volunteers hope to see submitted public artworks enliven the city’s appearance throughout the warmer months, during RAGBRAI and into Germanfest.

Artists, businesses, organizations, families, and individuals of all ages are invited to enter a sculpture in one of three categories. The first category, traditional sculpture, includes bicycle parts assembled into a sculpture of any size or shape. Other recycled materials constructed to resemble a bicycle are also included in this category. Sculptures in this category should be weatherproof, as they will be displayed in outdoor locations around town from May to October.

For those who want to try their hand at something even more unique, kinetic sculpture – sculptures that function as rideable bicycles – make up the second category.

The third category is in partnership with GD&T’s Stars and Stripes parade. Children eligible to enter decorated bicycles in the mini-float portion of the parade will have their mini-floats photographed, and those photos will be displayed at the Creativity Center through October. 

Although entrants must provide their own bicycle and building materials, Shepherd Gallery and Creativity Center will offer inspirational images and basic guidance during several group workdays in their outdoor courtyard. Organizers would like entrants to sign up to participate by April 1. Entries will be accepted through May 1. 

“This will be a fun and colorful way to decorate our town and prepare for RAGBRAI,” said Juanita Loven, member of the group of organizers known as Umbrella Arts. “There will be an opportunity for everyone – visitors and locals – to vote for their favorites and bid in a silent auction.” Prizes will be awarded to sculptures with the most votes. Organizers hope to hold a charitable auction of the sculptures at the end of the exhibition; with proceeds to benefit future community events like reCycle. 

There is no cost to enter the reCycle sculpture project. To register or request information, please contact Shepherd Gallery and Creativity Center at 252-2787, or visit

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