Edmond’s Love of Parks – Not So Uncommon 

“Valley of the Horse” sculpture by Oklahoma artist Paul Moore, located at the corner of 2nd Street and Coltrane Road. 

Edmond has a long history with green spaces, dating back to the first park instituted by John Mitch in 1890. In June, Edmond officially added a new park, Uncommon Ground Sculpture Park, to its roster. Much like past projects, including Kickingbird Golf Course and Arcadia Lake, the Uncommon Ground park was a partnership between the City of Edmond and various stakeholders, requiring years of planning. 

Edmond citizens have a track record of using their parks. They love them. All 33 of them! It was feared that remodeling Stephenson Park would destroy its character. Instead, it is now packed with people who are using the park in new and unexpected ways! 

A New Kind of Park 

The vision for park No. #34, Uncommon Ground, is unlike any of Edmond’s current green spaces because the artistic amenities take it to a new level. “I’m excited about the dog park, the playgrounds, the picnic areas—but what makes Uncommon Ground really special is the magnitude of its art,” said Cinda Covel, Edmond’s Public Art Director. “Art is for everyone! It is one of the few things in this world that is completely universal. Art can evoke feelings or memories, and it can be interpreted in countless ways.” 

Currently, Edmond has 316 art pieces in its collection, which includes statues, murals, and paintings. In anticipation of Uncommon Ground, 38 pieces are already slated for the park, although that number will likely rise by its opening in a few years. The art is purchased in partnership with private donors–who invest a higher percentage of funding than the city. 

“Our donors are the reason we have public art,” said Covel. “They donate for many reasons: to dress up a storefront or neighborhood, to remember a loved one lost, or to simply share a love of art.” 

Most of the statues are made of bronze, steel or stainless steel, materials which hold up best to weather and aging. The artistic themes vary widely, from animals and abstracts to Native American pieces. Each will be intentionally placed, for example, the limestone bee will be placed near the pollinator garden. One exciting interactive statue is a lookout tower, called the Bird’s Nest, in which visitors can climb to the top to view the park. 

Prestigious and Profitable 

Edmond’s selection of art is not only diverse, but in many cases, prestigious—including works by gifted local artists and world-renown artists. “Edmond has already been featured in national and international magazines for its public art. In fact, we have pieces in our collection by nine of the artists featured in this year’s Prix de West International Art Show at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum,” Covel said. 

In Covel’s opinion, the sculpture park will also help Edmond retain Oklahoma artists, who often move to Colorado or Arizona to pursue their art careers. “They will receive excellent training and exposure to the art in Edmond and Oklahoma City, and then, there is opportunity for them to stay here and thrive,” Covel said. 

“Edmond is already known for its parks, but focusing on sculptures takes us to a new level. We needed a park on the east side of the city, but Uncommon Ground’s placement on Route 66 also increases tourism. That means more people are shopping, eating, staying, and enjoying our community,” Covel said. “I believe that ten years from now, we will easily see Edmond as a thriving art community because of Uncommon Ground.” 

Visit EdmondArt.com to learn more about the current art collection. 

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