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September 6, 2012 | 12:00 a.m. CST
Look Out Point is like Columbia’s own Stonehenge: The spiral-shaped art installation is as striking as it is intriguing. Standing in the center of the swirl provides a panoramic experience of the beauty of Stephens Lake Park.
The spiral begins with a block of clay. A few feet away, the next column sits slightly taller than the one before. The pattern continues and gradually grows taller, until it reaches the 12th and final column, which stands 12 feet high.
Situated on a ledge of grass overlooking Stephens Lake, the series of sculptures has been a curiosity to park goers since it was installed in 2005. It was created by St. Louis artist Carol Fleming through the Percent for Art program. The program authorizes city construction projects with budgets of more than $1 million to use 1 percent of those costs for a piece of public art at the site. Fleming was chosen from a pool of applicants, according to Chris Stevens, manager of Columbia’s Office of Cultural Affairs.
Fleming was inspired by the highs and lows of Stephens Lake Park. “I was high up in the park and wanted to re-create the spiraling feeling of being there,” she says.
For each column, Fleming wanted to create an individual color and texture. No pillar is like the other. One might have splashes of blue and another green. Each is imprinted with a different pattern that gives every column a texture all its own.
Columns are also used in Fleming’s other art, which can be found in Sedalia and Fenton. All her work is made from stoneware clay or ceramics. However, the spiral is unique to the Look Out Point.