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NMC Art Instructor’s Sculptures Will Soon Grace Chinese City (August 28, 2008)

Residents of Changchun , capital of Jilin Province in the northeastern part of China , will soon be marveling at sculpted masterpieces designed and built by local Northern Marianas College Art Instructor Barry Wonenberg.

Wonenberg is nearing the completion of the sculptures that he has been commissioned to create as part of a Chinese urban improvement program, the Changchun China International Sculpture Symposium. When finally displayed at the Changchun Sculpture Park , Wonenberg’s artwork”named “Totem-Standing Together””will comprise twin pieces that stand approximately ten feet tall. The first piece will be made from stainless steel, while the other will be made from bronze.

According to Wonenberg, the bronze piece will possess “some texture, some polished reflective surfaces, and the warm feel of the bronze,” while the stainless steel piece will be “highly polished, reflective and cool.”

The artwork, which caught the eye of university officials who eventually offered Wonenberg a visiting professorship position to teach at Changchun University, will first be unveiled to the Chinese public in two weeks at Changchun’s Sculpture Park. There the stainless steel piece will be accompanied by a fiberglass piece that has been painted to emulate bronze. The art work will be on display for the two day Sculpture Conference were many other visiting artists will be in attendance. The sculptures will then be moved and displayed at the cities Victory Park in the heart of the cities center for about three years, where the bronze sculpture will replace the fiberglass piece. At the end of the tree years the sculptures will then be transferred back to their permanent place in Changchun World Sculpture Park.

The Changchun China International Sculpture Symposium invites artists and sculptors from around the world to create sculptures that promote the theme of “Friendship, Peace, and Spring.”

From the program’s inception in 2000, more than 350 sculptors from 172 countries have created 391 sculptures for the city representing different artistic styles from around the world. Artists from Malaysia , Saudi Arabia , Brunei , Monaco , Nicaragua , Barbados , Haiti , Sierra Leone , Tunisia , Nauru , Palau , Samoa , Vanuatu , and other countries have made the trek to China in previous years to sculpt their artwork.

The sculptures are all displayed in the 92-hectare Changchun World Sculpture Park . This year, the symposium, which will run until September 7, invited artists from a list of select countries, including the CNMI, to submit sculpture proposals showing the national and local cultures of their respective countries. After an extensive review process and approval by distinguished Chinese artists, only 31 artists were invited to participate this year.

“I am extremely honored that my art has been recognized on an international scale,” said Wonenberg.

In addition to the permanent display of his completed sculpture at the Changchun World Sculpture Park , Wonenberg also received an allowance of $2,000, roundtrip ticket to and accommodations in Changchun , and sight-seeing activities. The organizing committee also provides him with assistants to help build the sculptures.

Read more about Wonenberg’s progress and experiences in China by visiting


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