Art Professor's Sculpture Inspires Thoughts about Justice, Heritage
Posted on Wednesday, August 25, 2010 [5:21 PM]
Professor of Art Tim Smith hopes The Scales of Justice will inspire
people to think about
democracy, justice and law as it much as it decorates the space in
front of the Adair
County Judicial Center.
COLUMBIA, Ky. -- Lindsey Wilson College
Professor of Art Tim Smith hopes his latest sculpture will be
more than a pretty decoration in front of the Adair County Justice
Center. He also hopes it will remind people about justice and the
meaning of democracy.
Smith, who has been a member of the LWC faculty since 1992,
recently unveiled The Scales of Justice, a four-foot
tall welded sheet bronze sculpture perched on a fountain in front
of the Adair County Judicial Center.
It took Smith -- who has two other pieces of public art in Adair
County -- about three months to create the piece. But it was
inspired by more than a century of local history.
In addition to prominently showcasing a set of scales, the piece
also features scrolls on the back to symbolize law and justice. The
shape of the scales is almost identical to the shape of the
lampposts in front of the Adair County Courthouse.
Scales also includes sculpted leaves of the Tulip
Poplar, the state tree of Kentucky. The sculpture also has leaf
patterns and other elements that Smith derived from some of the
plaster designs on older storefront of Columbia's Public
"If you look at some of the plasters on the old storefronts and
on the courthouse itself, you will find that same design that is in
the sculpture," Smith said.
For Smith, using themes of the courthouse and century-old
storefronts was a way of connecting Adair County's past to its
"I took design elements like that and incorporated them into the
sculpture's design as a way of connecting the old to the new," he
Smith has a public sculpture on the LWC A.P. White Campus in
front of the W.W. Slider Humanities Center, and he has one in
Columbia Cemetery that pays tribute to Adair County native Col.
Frank Wolford, who fought for the Union during the Civil War.
Smith also has a public sculpture in Branson, Mo., as well as at
several U.S. corporations' offices.
And Smith says public art is more relevant than ever.
"Public art matters -- it is a type of art that has the
opportunity to really be significant because it is public," Smith
said. "Very often, public art is something that will in a sense
interact with people. And I think in today's age -- with a lot of
confusion, a lot of different ideas, almost anxiety about urban
lifestyle -- traditional artwork sometimes doesn't seem to have a
lot of relevance to people's lives. Public art can have relevance
because it is direct and physical and interacts where people
Smith hopes The Scales of Justice will also inspire
people to consider the importance of democracy in modern
"It's nice to create something that people notice -- especially
because it draws the association to the significance of what a
courthouse means, what it means to us as a people," he said. "It's
fun to be a part of that."