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6/11/2017 10:45:00 AM
Want to stay? Elkhart mayor interested in keeping Seward Johnson sculptures longer
Jamie Smith leans against the Seward Johnson piece God Bless America during installation in Elkhart. The sculpture is the artist's interpretation of Grant Wood's famed painting American Gothic. Staff photo by Sam Householder
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Jamie Smith leans against the Seward Johnson piece God Bless America during installation in Elkhart. The sculpture is the artist's interpretation of Grant Wood's famed painting American Gothic. Staff photo by Sam Householder

Jordan Fouts, Elkhart Truth

ELKHART — Mayor Tim Neese says he's interested in seeing a few summer visitors in Elkhart County extend their visit, perhaps indefinitely.

Neese expressed to Elkhart City Council members this week that he is interested in extending the lease for the Seward Johnson sculptures past Oct. 20. The Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau brought 57 statues to towns and cities throughout the county starting in May.

Neese also wondered about buying seven or eight of the statues, saying the city has received a lot of credit – and criticism – for the 20 sculptures installed in Elkhart. He didn't specify which statues he might like to keep, and his communications director, Courtney Bearsch, noted Wednesday there aren't any that he has in mind.

"Because of their locations, they provide both residents and visitors yet another reason to see and experience the downtown," she said. "It is not uncommon to see people waiting in line to see the sculptures up-close and get their picture taken with them."

Bearsch wasn't sure what the cost might be to purchase any of the statues, but she pointed out any lease or purchase agreement would have to come before the Elkhart City Council for approval.

Related Links:
• Elkhart Truth full text

Related Stories:
• Crown Point Courthouse Square again home to Seward Johnson bronzes
• 56 life-sized sculptures go on display in Elkhart County for the summer

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