Walking through soybean fields as a youngster gave artist Pamela Lee the idea for "Soy Pod," the ninth addition to the Community Art Legacy's series of 10 sculptures.
"I got my inspiration for 'Soy Pod' from living in the community and having my father take me into farm fields," she said Nov. 2 at the unveiling and dedication of her sculpture on the Oregon Public Library's lot west of the Oregon Post Office.
She grew up on the rural edges of Chicago suburbs and said now she often observes the soybeans growing in the field outside the windows of her home in Grayslake.
The bronze sculpture is a large open soybean pod with farm animals emerging from the beans inside.
The Community Arts Legacy (CAL) was founded nearly a decade ago with the goal of erecting 10 new sculptures in the Oregon area in 10 years.
Artists were then invited to enter sculptures in an annual contest at the Art Festival sponsored each June by The Fields Project.
The overall theme of the festival and contest is the blending of art and agriculture, both part of Ogle County's heritage.
"Soy Pod" was selected as the winner of the contest for 2013.
Jeff Adams, owner of inBronze Foundry, Mt. Morris, where the statue was cast, said he was pleased that Lee's submission was chosen.
"Pamela has been in the contests for three years, and she has had dynamite pieces all three years," he said. "I was really glad one of Pamela's was finally number one instead of number two."
CAL member Doug Wean told the crowd of approximately 30 people who gathered for the dedication that the goal of 10 statues is near.
"My friends, we are almost there," he said.
He stressed the importance of art to the community.
"I believe art is not what you see but what you allow others to see," Wean said.
Library board president Scott Stephens said library officials are pleased to be chosen as the recipients of a second CAL statue.
"We are honored to be chosen," Stephens said. "We feel the location here is great place for a future library. Right now it's a great place for a statue."
The fourth CAL sculpture "The Bountiful Bench" by Christina Murphy, the 2008 contest winner, is located on the library's front lawn.
The first sculpture, “From the Waters Comes My Bounty” by Ray Kobald, was placed at Kiwanis Park in 2005. It was later relocated across the Rock River to Oregon Park East.
Other CAL sculptures are: 2006 "Agriculture, Mother of Civilization" by David Seagraves at the Ogle County Judicial Center, 2007 "Cornball" by Howard Russo at the Oregon Coliseum, 2009 "Solar Reef" by Andrew Langoussis at Oregon Park West, 2010 "Making Hay" by Daniel Ingebrightson at Stillman Bank, Oregon, 2011 Harvest Hunter by Matthew Donovan at Nash Recreation Center, 2012 "Working the Land" by Robert Pulley at the Oregon Park District's Community Garden.