A new round of contenders arrived in Elmwood Park this month, ready for an audience to judge their qualities and vote for a favorite.

After the judging is finished, regardless of the results, these contestants will stand in the exact same spots for two years without moving.

Eight new sculptures have been installed in the park’s Sculpture Walk, created by artists from Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Washington, D.C. They’re the latest temporary public art pieces to arrive via the city’s “Art in Roanoke” program, launched in 2008.

This will be the final batch of “Art in Roanoke” sculptures overseen by Susan Jennings, who is retiring this year after more than 12 years as the city’s arts and culture coordinator.

The sculptures were chosen to match the theme “Roanoke Rising,” a celebration of the city’s recent revitalization efforts that have more city residents choosing to live downtown. “Roanoke has proven, yet again, that it can rise even as economic upheavals unfold,” Roanoke Arts Commission chairman Scott Crawford said in a statement.

How well these works, most of them abstract, match that theme is, as with all art, in the eye of the beholder.

Online voting takes place through Sunday at facebook.com/artinroanoke. The sculpture with the most votes will receive a People’s Choice Award.

Doggy comes home

Speaking of public art sculptures, Roanoke artist Ann Glover’s popular “Trojan Dog,” which first went on display in front of the Memorial Avenue Southwest fire station as part of the 2010 “Art in Roanoke” exhibition, has been allowed out to play once more.

“Trojan Dog,” which resembles an oversized toy dog, went from temporary sculpture to permanent fixture after the Raleigh Court Neighborhood Association won a grant that helped make it so.

As the city plans to construct a new, modern Fire Station No. 7, “Trojan Dog” was removed in November to undergo repairs. Friday, the 10-foot sculpture will reappear at the Raleigh Court Branch Library and stay there until the new fire station is built.

For more information about all these sculptures, contact Jennings at 853-5652 or susan.jennings@roanokeva.gov.

Mike Allen writes the Arts & Extras column for The Roanoke Times. The beat he covers includes visual art, classical music, opera, theater, dance, literature, museums and other arts and cultural nonprofits, and things even more eclectic.

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