Art Space: The hero in us all | October 2, 2009 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Living - October 2, 2009

Art Space: The hero in us all

by John A. Barry

Danville artist Bill Carmel wants to bring out the hero in everyone. To that end, he has proposed that the Town install an 8-foot figurative sculpture, entitled "The Hero," on the portico of the Kevin Milligan gallery at 408 Hartz Ave. Carmel describes the proposed sculpture as a "metaphor that is meant to inspire and make visible the greatness and virtues inherent in all of us as well as portray the idea of the heroic."

Although he has yet to complete the large version, Carmel has fabricated three maquettes (small models), each slightly different, which are on display at the Milligan Gallery. The one proposed for the portico is a genderless figure, with arms outstretched. "It has no distinguishing features other than wings," also outstretched and ready for flight, says Carmel. "It is not human but has human characteristics."

He characterizes the proposed piece as "public art ... visible to all who pass." But so far, The Hero is a no-go with the Town. Patricia Dillon, a partner in the Milligan Gallery, initially proposed the project to a Town official, who "chose to acknowledge it as 'signage'."

A Different Approach

In retrospect, Carmel says, he should have first approached the Arts Commission with the proposal. "They would then be in a position to tell the Town Council, 'This is a work of art,' and then the Council could either approve it or not."

In spite of the early setback, however, Carmel still thinks that his chances for success are good. "For the Town, this would be an opportunity to buy into a way to bring art into the community." He also thinks it would help establish a process for "incorporating this kind of creative endeavor into everyday town life."

Furthermore, he believes, "The Town gets to have all of these creative cultural things that are going on, no matter what the time of day is." As an example, he explains that the museum or a gallery wouldn't have to be open; "you can just have events that happen in the town."

Carmel says that local merchants have been attempting for a long time to establish Danville as a destination, and he believes that continual events he describes would help in that endeavor. "Cultural, merchant and government activities will work with each other. Then you get something that is aesthetically pleasing; people will want to come to do things here." He points to initiatives of this type in Walnut Creek, Pleasanton, Livermore and Brentwood.

"It would only add to what Danville already has going."

Going ...

The print version of the Danville Weekly is going online and with it, this column. I've enjoyed doing it and meeting the people about whom I've written in these paper pages. Read it online at

--John A. Barry is a writer and aspiring artist. To share anything art-related, call him at 314-9528 or e-mail