amazonSculpture (Mahogany wood), c. 1950

Approx. 2 ft. x 16”

Artist: Arthur L. Harshman (1909-1980)

Donated to Arts Place, Inc., July, 2002

By Mrs. Geraldine Harshman Kelly

In memory of Hugh N. and Sara Ronald

Description: Hand carved mahogany wood.

About the artist: Arthur L. Harshman was a glass design executive at Indiana Glass in Dunkirk, Indiana and a skilled artist. Much of his work is reminiscent of Dali’s work in the 1930’s – 1950’s.


autumnCreated by Harold “Tuck” Langland in 1990, Autumn was commissioned by Portland 2000 and donated to Arts Place.

The life-size bronze is located next to the south side of Arts Place, on the 100 block of East Main Street. Tuck Langland has received dozens of awards for his work. He has exhibited throughout the United States.

A resident of Granger, Indiana, Tuck serves on the fine arts faculty of Indiana University at South Bend.

Landscape’s Legacy

Landscape’s Legacy
Rhonda Franklin, 2000
Stoneware, reduction-fired glaze.
7 ½ x 35 ½ feet

Landscape’s Legacy is a ceramic relief mural that was installed in Goodrich Hall at the Portland Center of Arts Place in 2000. This monumental work was created over a three-year period beginning in 1997 when Rhonda Franklin, one of our Arts in the Parks teaching artists, approached Arts Place Executive Director Eric Rogers. Franklin and her students had been discussing the idea of a tile relief mural as a part of the facility expansion project being developed at that time. Franklin presented the concept and design concepts to the building committee and the corporate board of directors and received approval for the concept. Over the next three years Franklin and over 40 artist assistants, students and community volunteers researched, sculpted, glazed and fired the tiles that make up the mural.

The mural’s imagery is drawn from the agricultural buildings, industrial structures and indigenous flora found in this region. The border tile design was inspired by a plate found in Dunkirk’s Glass Museum, not far from the Post Office there that was decorated with a painted W.P.A. mural in the 1930’s.

The video accompanying this page was created by Rebecca James, an artist living in Portland. The music was written and performed by Claire Lynch with assistance from Jim Hurst and permission for its usage with this video was kindly granted by Ms. Lynch. Claire’s music was chosen for the video project in recognition of her performance at the Portland Center of Arts Place in November 2012 with the Claire Lynch Band. The mural was sponsored by Barry and Elizabeth Hudson, Aaron and Mary Hudson.


Franklin engaged several artists and many community members to assist her over the next two years in the mural’s creation. Historical research, site-specific pinhole photographs, scale drawings, and a scale model were produced in 1998 alone. In 1999 and 2000 the work-time became even more extensive and concentrated.

Research involved visiting different sites within Jay County and the surrounding area. Dunkirk’s Glass Museum and grain elevator, Portland’s water tower, the Loblolly Marsh, the Straton-Porter House, and unique countryside barn sites were among the many documented with slides and/or pinhole photographs. Using this visual information, scale drawings were created. In July of 1998, a final drawing was selected and a scale model designed. A clay scale model and mold of the model was cast and glazed and presented to the building committee in the fall. After approval, clay-body tests began.


1999 proved to be an extremely ambitious year. Throughout the winter and spring of 1999 countless tests were performed. Samples of clay bodies and glazes were numerous until the right combination was chosen for durability and color. This phase was extremely tedious yet critical to the next step. Knowing the structural composition of the materials to be used, in the summer of 1999 Franklin began a full-scale drawing of the 35 ½ foot mural—tile by tile, set on a to-scale grid and numbered accordingly.

The images on each square tile from the full-scale drawing (numbering 296) were traced onto tracing paper. Molds were made of the 3 basic tile types: large corner tile; repeating border tile; and the basic flat tiles on which the relief sculpture was built. All of the flat tiles were individually press-traced with the imagery. When this activity was completed, the sculpting began—building up the surface to make a relief image as well as determining the depth of each individual tile within the overall composition. These 296 tiles were bisque fired (lst firing) in preparation for the glazes to be applied.


Early in 2000 more glaze test tiles were performed until a color palette was eventually chosen. Small acrylic paintings were made in the color scheme of the glazes. These small paintings were used as a visual point of reference while applying the glazes—which was the next phase—because unfired glazes do not represent the true color of the final glazes.

In the summer of 2000 the bisque fired tiles were taken out of temporary storage (each having been wrapped, boxed and numbered the fall before) and placed in order on the floor of Franklin’s temporary clay studio on Meridian Street. One-by-one the tiles were masked, hand painted or sprayed with each prescribed glaze. As the glazing progressed, the tiles were taken to the gas kiln at the new site of the kiln shed located in the First National Arts Park and fired—day and night.

When the last tile was fired and the mural wall site was prepared in Arts Place, the long awaited task of installation began. Enlisting the adept skills of the mason tradeworkers and at the direction of artist, Rhonda Franklin the mural was assembled and installed at its permanent site—Arts Place.

Three years in the making, the idea for the Arts Place mural began in discussions between Rhonda Franklin and her students enrolled in Arts in the Parks, the Arts Place summer program.

Some early ideas for imagery were developed by students in a pinhole camera summer class. Later, students and assistants drew the mural to scale on a huge roll of paper to guide the sculpting of the tiles, which were then built up in wet clay to a maximum depth of 8 inches. These tiles were then bisque fired at the arts council. In the final phase of construction the tiles were sprayed and hand-painted with glaze, and then reduction-fired in the new gas kiln located in First National Arts Park. As the new building for Arts Place progressed, Rhonda Franklin supplied finished tiles to the masons and supervised the details of installation and grouting.


The image above is a collage assembled from 296 photographs, each showing a single tile.

Oblio in Blue

oblioInBlueOblio in Blue
Sculpture (Stone and Glass)
Height: 32”

Artist: James Michael Kahle

Commissioned by Arts Place, Inc., in 2002

Dedicated: In memory of John P. Bodle, Sr. by his family
Base and landscaping by anonymous donors


Located in the front of the Arts Place property at the intersection of Water and East Walnut Streets, the sculpture features colored glass that playfully interacts with changing light throughout the day.

About the Artist

James Michael Kahle began blowing glass in 1990 at the Toledo Museum of Art. Since then, his work has been shown in numerous exhibits in the United States and abroad. James Michael’s work is held in public and private collection in the United States, Mexico, Hungary, Germany, Canada, Great Britain, Japan, and the Netherlands. His work is also included in the White House permanent collection. The State of Ohio has used his artwork as gifts on trade missions to Spain, Mexico, and China. Kahle has been featured in one-man shows in eastern and central Europe as well as numerous exhibits in the USA most recently at the heritage international gallery in Detroit Michigan and the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. He has also been awarded grants under the Master Apprentice Program funded through the Ohio Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, allowing him to pass on his glass making skills to an apprentice.