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Graduate student bends metal to create art for public enjoyment

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Leslie Tharp’s first commissioned artwork

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Leslie Tharp, a free-lance artist in Gainesville expresses herself best through public art. Florida’s 89.1, WUFT-FM’s Stephanie Bechara tells us about her involvement with the community and her goal to interact with people through her own creations.

Tharp’s passion is to shape common things such as iron and steel into art—public art, nonetheless. When in her zone, Tharp works up to 12 hours a day, hammering, bending and cutting metal.

As a University of Florida graduate who comes from a family of artistic Gators, Tharp is excited to have had her first official public art piece, titled “Cycle,” displayed at UF’s Small Animal Hospital.

Gainesville Public Art Coordinator John Hayes, a sculptor himself, says “Cycle” was created in memory of Dr. Kevin Anderson, a former professor in the veterinary department. Cycling was Anderson’s hobby, and so the sculpture took the shape of a life-sized bicycle with spirals facing upward and iron-molded pets racing toward the sky.

Hear the full story above.

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