- Associated Press - Monday, January 27, 2014

TECUMSEH, Mich. (AP) - Tecumseh is apparently striving to become the sculpture center in southeast Michigan.

The Art Trail and the Ice Sculpture Festival bring many people to Tecumseh annually. Christine Obeid, Tecumseh High School art teacher, and her students want to add more artwork and have started planning an outdoor sculpture garden at the school. The planned site is on the east side of the high school.

“We started talking last June about adding some art to the building. We are looking at the open space to the east of the building,” Obeid told The Daily Telegram of Adrian ( http://bit.ly/1eGM30Y ). “I brought a couple of landscape architects in to talk to the class and the students took it from there.”

Superintendent Kelly Coffin said she is excited about the proposed sculpture garden at the high school and pleased with the students’ initiative.

“Our hope is that this project can be completed in stages and incorporate the art sculptures that are currently displayed around the city,” she said.

A landscape architect will work with Obeid and her students on a design and content of the display. They hope to finish planning soon and break ground in the spring. At this point, Obeid said, no decisions have been made on how big the sculpture garden will be or how it will look, but the students are already talking expansion.

“We’d really like to make it into an outdoor amphitheater,” Obeid said. “But we aren’t going to get ahead of ourselves.?We are still in the early planning stages.”

Griff Mills, Tecumseh High School principal, said the administration was receptive to the idea of a sculpture garden when approached by Obeid.

“We are excited about the project,” Mills said.

Coffin talked about the plan with the school board’s facilities and grounds committee at its meeting Dec. 19. She said last week that the garden would be a symbol of the school district’s art program.

“(Students) were able to share their designs on a space that they would be able to use to support their work,” she said. “We have a strong fine arts program here at Tecumseh and this is an excellent way to partner with the community.”

For the sixth year, the city has the Art Trail of 14 sculptures displayed around downtown. These artworks are changed annually. Tecumseh recently hosted its fifth annual Ice Sculpture Festival with an estimated 21 ice carvings to remain on display downtown until they melt.

In addition, a 12-foot-tall, wood carving of the city’s namesake, Native American leader Tecumseh, greets visitors at the main door of Tecumseh Middle School on North Maumee Street. Woodcarver Emil Szkipala of Chesterfield Township used a chainsaw and chisels to carve the likeness.

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Information from: The Daily Telegram, http://www.lenconnect.com