Julio César Cepeda Duque, visiting artist from Cuba, has created a work for Hamburg, entitled “Tribute to Hamburg.”
The art project was begun at the Taste of Hamburg-er Festival on Sept. 1, and the finished work installed in its permanent location at the Hamburg Strand on Sept. 29. The work of art is done in his trademark style of using multiple discarded objects with layers of ink and metallic paint, including copper and gold. The result is that “trash” becomes an art piece of great beauty and value.
“We are excited about this addition to our lobby. People will enjoy examining it,” said Theater manager Bethany Sholl. “When they do they might see angels munching on hamburgers, Freddie Krueger in a coffin getting a hamburger infusion, a King Frost metal, a souvenir Hamburg police metal, Hex signs, a train engine, and 1787, the year of Hamburg’s founding, held up by Atlas.”
Cepeda’s U.S. visit has featured a one-man show at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts in Reading, entitled Made in Cuba, on display until Oct. 13. Julio Cepeda, 45, is from Trinidad, Cuba. In addition to the commission for Hamburg, Cepeda made a sculptural mural for the Borough of West Reading and one for Reading, installed on the campus of GoggleWorks. He also completed a private commission, and numerous smaller pieces.
“Art like this is important in Hamburg, both for its cultural impact and as part of our history,” said Hamburg Mayor George Holmes. “People will be reminded of the growing success of the Hamburg-er Festival. It is worthy of our celebration.”
"This artwork is an exceptional piece and ties in nicely to our public arts initiative that we started a few years ago," said Our Town Foundation Executive Director Deena Kershner.
In addition to this piece, three large murals have been painted and a large kinetic sculpture was placed on State Street Square. A fourth mural will be painted next year, and there are several other public art initiatives that members of the Hamburg Area Arts Alliance have been discussing.
“They all add to our cultural and artistic component of our revitalization efforts," said Kershner.
The mural painted along 4th Street is complete. Kershner explained that the pictures depict different eras of the foundry, dating back to the mid-1800s when it was first erected by Benneville Derr as the Hamburg Stove Works. After Benneville's death the foundry was sold to Peter Shollenberger, Charles Seaman and Samuel Loose and in 1881 traded as the the name Loose, Seaman and Company. It became known as the Hamburg Plow Works in 1948 when Robert Loose (Samuel's son) became the sole proprietor. The name was changed again in 1992 to Hamburg Manufacturing due to the sale of the plow part business. David Pendergast is the current owner under that name.