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Modern Totem, Martin Beach

ModernTotemMartin Beach
Modern Totem, 2014


This permanent sculpture was commissioned by the Columbus Area Arts Council and the Columbus Museum of Art & Design and installed in 2014 to celebrate the renovation of Library Plaza.

Location: Bartholomew County Public Library plaza, 536 Fifth Street.


Columbus sculptor Martin Beach created the 8,000-pound mesabi black granite, which came from a Babbit, Minnesota quarry. The sculpture is an obelisk form consisting of two stacked, black granite stones, creating a modern and minimal interpretation of a totem, an ancient symbol of community, gathering, and family. “At the same time, I am implying that extension of the vertical infinite, creating an upward swirl of motion that forms a fluctuating visual energy,” said sculptor Beach. “My hope is the sculpture is not interpreted as a static and stoic form, but one that is very much alive.” The library’s stone steps came from the same quarry as these granite stones.

Check out this blog post to learn more about this sculpture’s story.