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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

New downtown Gainesville sculpture ‘Luna’ keeps its eyes on passersby

<p class="p1">Ovaryaction plays in front of Luna, the art installation on the corner of Southeast Second Avenue and Southeast First Street, Monday.</p>

Ovaryaction plays in front of Luna, the art installation on the corner of Southeast Second Avenue and Southeast First Street, Monday.

Two fiddlers played music to the crowd of local artists and art enthusiasts Sunday evening during the unveiling of an art sculpture downtown.

Artist Ted Crom gave his mother the honor of cutting the yellow ribbon on “Luna,” a 13-foot-tall steel crescent moon with human facial features and beaming red eyes. The ceremony took place at the intersection of Southeast Second Avenue and Southeast First Street across from Dragonfly Sushi.

Crom said he built the sculpture as something fun to do during his retirement.

He designed and built “Luna” in about five months at his home welding shop in Cross Creek, Fla., with the help of a few others.

The sculpture’s eyes light up in the evening, and Crom said he plans to install a motion sensor to allow the solar-powered eyes to follow passersby.

“We wanted his eyes to follow you as you walk by, which would be an eerie thing if you weren’t expecting it,” he said.

Scarlett Richmond, a 21-year-old UF journalism senior, attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony because she said she wanted to see if the sculpture was as creepy as her friends had told her it was.

“I really love the idea, personally, of all the drunk people that are going to get freaked out for the first few weeks that don’t know it’s here,” she said.

UF environmental engineering first-year graduate student Jordan Capeloto said he preferred this sculpture to the previous art pieces on campus, such as the “Whispering Close” sculpture on Plaza of the Americas.

“It definitely catches your eye because it’s got the big red lights,” the 24-year-old said. “I enjoy the concept of it.”

Nava Ottenberg, the initiator of the public art installation and owner of Persona Vintage Clothing & Costumes, first saw Crom’s “Luna” sculpture in November during the Downtown Festival and Art Show and felt that it belonged permanently downtown.

“Art is essential to our being. It’s essential in our culture,” she said. “The more public art, the bigger it is, the better.”

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[A version of this story ran on page 9 on 2/18/2014 under the headline "New downtown sculpture ‘Luna’ keeps its eyes on passersby"]

Ovaryaction plays in front of Luna, the art installation on the corner of Southeast Second Avenue and Southeast First Street, Monday.

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