ASHLAND – For several months, downtown Ashland has played host to a unique piece of art.
A sculpture created by artist Matthew Clements is displayed outside of the Ashland Public Library near the intersection of 13th and Silver streets.
The sculpture, “By the Light of the Moon,” was installed March 13, according to Library Director Heather St.Clair.
The artwork is part of a public art project in Lincoln called “Serving Hands” that celebrates the 50th anniversary of Campus Life in Lincoln, said Liz Shea-McCoy, director of the project.
The project includes 39 six-foot tall sculptures placed in public locations and 12 small-scale models that are part of a traveling exhibition.
Of the 51 total pieces of artwork, all are located in Lincoln except one. Lee and Suzanne Sapp sponsored Clements’ sculpture, but with a stipulation that it be located outside of the Capital City.
“I told them that I wanted mine in Ashland,” Lee Sapp said.
The Sapps wanted to be a part of the project in order to support Campus Life, which is a ministry of Youth For Christ. It is an organization that they have supported for over three decades.
“We are long-time sponsors of Youth For Christ – Lincoln Area,” Lee Sapp said.
Campus Life is a program committed to engaging youth in healthy relationships, guiding them in making good decisions, helping them positively impact their schools and ultimately build a solid foundation for life, said Shea-McCoy. Over 1,500 students in Lincoln, Norris and Ashland participate.
Lee Sapp said he is passionate about Christ-centered ministries that reach out to people, especially youth.
“I’ve always really cared about ministry work,” he said. “I think youth by far is the most important ministry to work on.”
Ashland rec-ently renewed its Campus Life ministry after an absence of several years. Earlier this year, a new Campus Life club was started at Ashland-Greenwood Middle School. The after school program for middle school students began in April under the direction of Tim Maas.
Lee Sapp’s aunt and uncle, Lucille and the late Bill Sapp, had sponsored a public art project piece in Lincoln in the past, which gave Lee Sapp the idea to do it.
The couple chose digital artist Clements’ sculpture out of a pool of Nebraska artists. Sapp said the moon on the sculpture was supposed to light up after the sun goes down. But the nearby street lights are too bright at night, so the sensor thinks it is always daytime and does not allow the moon to glow as planned.
Sapp thanked the City of Ashland, owner of the public library, for allowing the sculpture to be placed near the library.
“The library was very good about letting us display it there,” he said.
The sculpture will stay in place until Oct. 20. After that, it will be removed to be auctioned with the other 50 sculptures to raise money for Campus Life and the participating artists. The auction will be held Oct. 25 at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln. A community celebration will be held the day before, also in the Pinnacle Bank Arena.