The St. Joseph Sculpture Walk survived a pandemic. On June 9, its participants could stand a little heat.

With the summer heat blazing, more than 30 art enthusiasts took to Downtown St. Joseph and checked out the unveiling of the eighth installment of the popular walk.

“It adds so many benefits to our community — people coming in, economic development. The list is so long when you add to art to your community,” Becky Boerkircher, chair for the Visual Arts Committee for the Allied Arts Council, said.

While some arts activities were hurt by the pandemic, the Sculpture Walk has seemingly thrived, with a record number of 21 new sculptures being added to the experience.

As visitors moved from sculpture to sculpture, taking in designs that included dragons, tree houses and child cowboys, some of the artists, like Amanda Steimel, a recent college graduate from Springfield, Missouri, took time to talk about their pieces.

Standing in front of “Padmasana,” one of two pieces featured on the walk by Steimel, she talked about its origins and ability to light up in the dark.

“I wanted people to be able to look at it and just reconnect with themselves and feel peace and stillness for a moment,” she said.

A part of the Sculpture Walk almost every year, artist Dale Lewis was present to receive the top prize for his stainless steel piece, “When Pigs Fly, Amellia’s Jetpack.”

“I was kind of inspired by those Geico commercials, with Maxwell being on a flight. He was a passenger and I thought, ‘Well I think he’d be a pilot,’” Lewis said.

Other prizes awarded included the bronze dog statue “Chelsea” by Pokey Park in second place and James Douglas Cox’s “Do Something Good with your Superpowers,” a stainless steel sculpture showcasing a mouse holding two smaller mice, receiving third place.

People can view the Sculpture Walk any time they want. Maps are available at the Allied Arts Council office, 118 South Eighth St. Visitors also can get an audio tour through the free app, called OtoCast, which provides an interactive map and sound clips from almost every artist.

The pieces will be on display until May 2022 and are available for purchase. For more information, visit facebook.com/StJoeArts or call 816-233-0231.

Andrew Gaug can be reached at andrew.gaug@newspressnow.com.

Follow him on Twitter: @NPNOWGaug

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