By Sam Wildow
TROY — Local artist William E. Smith III is among the artists featured in Troy Main Street’s Sculptures on the Square with his sculpture, “Flying Machine,” featured outside of Kettering Health’s Troy Hospital.
Smith said since he grew up in Troy and currently lives in Troy as well, he likes to throw his hat in the ring whenever there is a local open call for art entries. Smith’s submission was among 20 pieces that Troy Main Street selected out of over hundreds of submissions to be placed in downtown Troy for the summer.
“I’m the only one from Troy,” Smith said. “I was flattered and impressed.”
While the kick-off to the Sculptures on the Square exhibit did not go as planned with a number of activities canceled last week due to rain, Smith was still able to meet approximately a dozen of the other artists involved in the exhibit at an abbreviated ceremony. Smith also has a number of paintings of “Birds in Flight” on display at Haren’s Market, 2 E. Main St., Troy, as part of the exhibit.
The location of Smith’s sculpture in this year’s Sculptures on the Square exhibit is also fitting due to the hospital already being home to a number of Smith’s other pieces. Smith said representatives from Kettering Health even picked out his sculpture to be in front of the Troy Hospital before making the connection. His Troy landmark paintings in the hospital include an original tri-panel behind the reception area, three reproductions by the cafeteria, and another four on the third floor waiting area.
Smith’s sculpture is a one-half scale interpretation of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Flying Machine.” The sculpture is made primarily of treated wood and rope, and it has of wingspan of approximately 15 feet. It stands over 8 feet and gazes down upon all guests, Smith said.
Smith, who traditionally makes his living as a painter, saw the opportunity to create his sculpture as “a nice change of pace.” The inspiration for his piece also seemed like a suitable match for the theme of this year’s Sculptures on the Square exhibit, which was “Taking Flight.”
“It was one of the first things that popped in my head,” Smith said. “I thought it would be a challenge.”
Da Vinci never created the flying machine from his sketches himself, although Smith said others have concluded that the machine would not be able to fly.
“I started with a one-fifteenth scale model, and that’s what I actually submitted to the committee for the review,” Smith said. Once the committee selected his model as one of the pieces for the exhibit, he created the larger sculpture that is currently on display. Smith’s sculpture, as well as the others in the exhibit, will be on display through Oct. 4.
Smith, after growing up in Troy, attended the Columbus College of Art and Design on a scholarship. He also studied at the Chautauqua Institute and the Dayton Art Institute. He has worked professionally as both a visual artist and graphic designer the majority of his career, and he returned to his hometown where he raised his two boys and lives with his wife, Tracey.
“I think its great that Troy’s been very aggressive in bringing activities to downtown,” Smith said. “They’re on the up swing and booming. I think it’s very exciting when Troy does so many activities like this.”
Smith has been actively exhibiting over the past decade and has won numerous awards along the way. He is also currently taking part in the Cherry Street Local Farmers Market this year, which is held every Saturday, weather-permitting, from 9 a.m. to noon from now through Sept. 25 on South Cherry Street between West Main and West Franklin streets. Smith will also have a solo exhibit on display at the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center in December.
More about Smith and his artwork can be found online at www.william3art.com.