LEWISTON — Local art officials are hoping to build a series of public art projects that wind their way through the Twin Cities, first commemorating the April and May 2013 downtown fires.

Josh Vink, executive director of L/A Arts, said his group hopes to commission a piece by Portland-based artist Charlie Hewitt.

“He would put the art in one of the fire lots downtown,” Vink said.

Lincoln Jeffers, Lewiston’s director of economic and community development, confirmed one possible site is a city lot on Bartlett Street, one of the lots left vacant after the fire on May 6.

Hewitt is a popular modern sculptor who creates graphically bright and bold pieces. A Lewiston-Auburn native, he references Twin Cities’ history in his works, according to his  artists’ resume.

A recent public art project called “Urban Rattle” was recently installed on Manhattan’s West Side.

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“Charlie actually approached us,” he said. “He was a Lewiston native and he was moved by what happened last spring with the fires and felt like he wanted to do something positive for the city.”

Vink said he expected the sculpture would mark the Twin Cities’ culture, more than focus on the fires.

“He integrates themes from the community,” Vink said. “He likes to make connections to the heritage and the history of the area. So some of the traditional French heritage and some of the in-migration that’s happened, it would be great opportunity to embrace the revitalization that’s happening.”

He expects Hewitt’s piece would go up somewhere on Bartlett Street or on Pine Street.

Vink said he hopes Hewitt’s work becomes the first in a series of public arts projects. L/A Arts is hoping to commission a second piece, a 15-foot-tall bronze sculpture of Muhammad Ali, commemorating the boxer’s May 1965 bout with Sonny Liston. The sculpture would go somewhere near the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

Other pieces would be added later, Vink said.

“We would start with a couple of pieces downtown in Lewiston and then turn toward the river and Simard/Payne (Memorial) Park and connect them via a riverwalk across the footbridge into Auburn. We’d like to do a series of pieces working all the way up the falls.”

Right now, Vink said his group is raising money for the project, hoping to enlist help from corporate sponsors, writing grants and appealing to donors directly.

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