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Away 2AAway is a 12 foot tall, 800 pound, stainless steel sculpture that resides in Riverside Park, just south of Liles Hotel. The piece features two stainless steel arms stretching skyward. Between the arms is a large red ball which makes its own strong statement. A flock of black birds has been cut into the side of one of the arms to reinforce the free, flying feel that Massachusetts sculptor Dale Rogers wanted to convey with the piece.


How It Became Part of Bonita Springs’ Public Art Collection

Away 6A“The concept for Away came about in 2009 while I was working on a commissioned piece for San Ramon, California,” Rogers recalls. “I was attempting to design an abstract geometric that would convey an uplifting sense of family, community, and harmony. The piece itself is somewhat representational of a person with its arms in the air. The committee ultimately selected Away1[a different sculpture titled 4 People] as the design they wanted in the park, but I was pleased with the overall look and feel of this design and knew it would appeal to other clients.”

Rogers had to build a rack on the back of his pickup truck so that he could lean the 12-foot tall stainless steel sculpture down for the trip from Massachusetts to Florida, where Rogers was taking part in the Bonita Springs National Art Festival. It took two people and a front-end loader to lift Away into the bed of the truck. “Upon arrival in Bonita Springs (after driving 24 hours straight), I realized I would have no access to a front-end loader and would need to get the 12-foot high, 800-pound piece off my pickup and onto its pedestal all by myself,” Rogers laughs now.

Away 5AThe work was spotted at Bonita National by Bonita’s Art in Public Places Board member Jackie Houserman, who introduced herself, told Rogers about the town’s new Art in Sun Along Old 41 initiative and asked him if he would consider leaving the sculpture on view in Riverside Park until he returned for the Bonita Springs National Art Festival in March. Rogers was delighted to accommodate the city, which leased the piece from him for $4,200 before purchasing it outright in June of 2011 for the sum of $10,000 with funds that came from the Art in Public Places account and its Chalk Where You Walk event.


About Sculptor Dale Rogers

Away 22Dale Rogers is a Massachusetts metal sculptor whose career as a monumental artist spans more than a decade. Rogers works primarily with stainless Cor-Ten steel. “Stainless Steel is beautiful and versatile,” Rogers remarks. “The surface of it can be done in many different finishes, with the variations adding dimension and depth.” He favors Cor Ten because of its “long life/low maintenance” reputation. “It is what cities and the federal government use to make bridges out of. It oxidizes over time and then seals itself. It offers an organic and simple element to the sculptures while the Away 17stainless steel brings in a little more pizzazz and punch.”

Rogers’ process takes at least six months from conception to completion. “When an idea comes to me I think about it for some time before moving to the next step,” he confides. “I complete a sketch and then begin the process of transferring that idea to something that can be created with metal in my studio. I use 3-D software to perfect the image I want before breaking it apart into workable pieces to be laser cut.”

Assembly requires TIG welding. Rogers became interested in welding long before he began creating monumental artworks when he taught himself to repair metal equipment on his family’s farm. His interest in art started even Away 23before that, when he was in school. “Art was always something I loved, but truthfully didn’t think it was a career path that could support a family,” say Rogers, echoing a sentiment voiced by the vast majority of his fellow artists. “It always struck me as a hobby, and having it make sense economically didn’t seem feasible.” That sensibility has informed his artworks, helping him maintain a companionable balance between his creative impulses with the economic realities of marketing, selling, and transporting large heavy metal sculptures.

“My love for art lies in abstract geometrics, and much of my body of work encompasses the clean simple properties of that style,” the Away 19artist reveals. “Over the years, I have incorporated iconic and whimsical shapes into my sculptures that allow viewers to connect with my art on an emotional level. My public exhibits feature sculptures that do just this. I strive to create thought-provoking work that is sophisticated, easily recognized, and will serve as a mental postcard. I take pleasure in creating work that Away 14inspires the public to think about the world differently. I truly believe adding sculpture to the public landscape forever enhances the environment and the art serves as a reflection of the quality of the community.”

In addition to Florida, Rogers has work in public art collections in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia, as well as Ontario, Canada. Within the state, Rogers’ work can be found in Cape Coral, Coconut Creek, Delray Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Ocala, Orlando, Valrico and Away 34Winter Park. Over the past few years, Rogers has installed pieces on several academic and corporate campuses, including Southern New Hampshire University, Northern MI College, Haverhill High School, Pingree High School, Idexx, NE Bio-Lab and Bissell Corporation. “I am honored that my large sculptures enhances many public spaces across the nation for visitors to enjoy and I hope to have a piece of public art in every state by 2015,” Rogers states.


Following is a list of some of the awards Rogers’ work has received over his career:

Best Use of Urban Space Award ArtPrize, Grand Rapids, MI 2012
First Place Westport, CT Fine Art Show 2008
First Place Old Saybrook, CT Fine Art Show 2008
Best of Show Francisco’s Farm Art Festival at Midway College, Midway, KY 2008
Best of Show Promenade of Art, Arlington Heights IL 2010
Best of Show Temple Beth El Art Show, St. Petersburg, FL
Best Sculpture Under the Oaks Art Show, Vero Beach, Fl, 2007
Best Sculpture Under the Oaks Art Show, Vero Beach, Fl 2008
Best Sculpture Art on the Square Art Show, Belleville, IL 2007
Best in Category Westport Fine Art Show, Westport CT 2009
Best in Category Chicago Botanic Garden Arts Festival, Glencoe, IL
People’s Choice Paradise City Arts Festival, Marlborough, MA 2007
Award of Distinction Bonita Springs Art Festival 2009
Award of Distinction Bonita Springs Art Festival 2010
Award of Excellence Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival 2011
Sculpture in the City Award Belleville, IL 2008
Merit Award Port Clinton Art Festival, IL 2008
Artist of the Year North Shore Animal League Rescue America 2009
Artist of the Month Haverhill, MA 2007


A Note About Cor-ten Steel

Away 15Cor-ten is the trade name given to a group of steel alloys developed to eliminate the need for painting. When exposed to the elements for several years, corten forms a protective layer that has a stable, rust-like appearance  but which actually resists further corrosion. For that reason, corten (sometimes called weathering steel) is popularly used in exterior building facades and outdoor Away 23sculptures such as the large Chicago Picasso Sculpture.

It is important to note that weathering steel is not rustproof in itself. If water is allowed to accumulate in pockets on or around it, cor-ten will experience continued corrosion. Weathering steel is also sensitive to environments that have a lot of salt in the air. In such places, the protective patina can fail to stabilize, leading to catastrophic corrosion. That is what happened to the former Omni Coliseum built in 1972 in Atlanta, which never stopped rusting and had to be demolished just 25 years after construction when large holes appeared in the structure.


Adding Color to Artworks through Fused Glass

Image 24In an effort to infuse his work with more color, Rogers has begun designing, fabricating and installing fused glass into his sculpture, converting a very small storage closet into an efficient, fully functioning glass studio. Through continuing trial and error over the course of 2014 and 2015, Dale and his studio staff have gained a depth of experience and knowledge. “I am happy to say that the glass has added the color and enrichment I was hoping for,” states the artist in his studio blog, where he also outlines the 6-step process they employ. “Stay tuned to see what is next,” Dale tantalizes.



Fast Facts

  • Away 20Sculptor Dale Rogers is a big fan of Bonita Springs , which he falls in love with every time he visits.
  • He is also a huge fan of Bonita Springs National. “I do a lot of art festivals and I can say that Bonita’s is one of the best because it’s so tight. It has a nice mix of artists and the people who attend it really know art,” says Rogers. “I can’t say enough good things about it.”
  • When he is not designing, welding, or exhibiting work, Rogers likes to spend time with his three children traveling in his Vanagon, four wheeling, and flying kites.

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