HOLLIDAYSBURG — Native artist Joel Koss and a gaggle of nameless volunteers have beautified the nook of Allegheny and Lindsay streets in honor of Koss’s disabled niece, Naomi Kathleen Caughey, 13.
The Naomi Kathleen Backyard, as soon as a vacant lot, is now house to a metallic sculpture created by Koss. It rises 22 toes into the air and consists of triangular beams of metal, carbon metal and chrome steel. The beams are set in a concrete base accented with giant black rocks. The piece is surrounded by a purple brick space outlined in black concrete.
The lot has been landscaped, with three bushes planted alongside its far border. Extra native Pennsylvania plantings are deliberate, together with benches the place individuals can sit and mirror.
The location is a tribute to Naomi, the daughter of Dr. Robert and Anne Caughey of Hollidaysburg, who has a uncommon genetic situation that has left her visually impaired and nonverbal. Initially given a brief lifespan, her mom first conceived the concept of a park as a memorial then shifted into creating an area in Naomi’s honor.
Naomi enjoys the sensory experiences on the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, the place she additionally attends a faculty for the blind, Anne Caughey mentioned.
As a consequence of her situation, Naomi has traits much like being severely autistic with “locked in syndrome.” But, Caughey mentioned, Naomi understands what individuals say, has a humorousness and a definite character. Naomi has realized by the usage of flash playing cards and solves algebra issues, her mother mentioned.
Koss mentioned he enjoys taking Naomi for automobile rides, they usually hearken to music, together with Naomi’s favourite Paul Simon track, “You Can Name Me Al.”
Siblings, Koss and Caughey hope residents will get pleasure from their efforts to beautify the area on the entrance to the borough.
It’s a labor of affection that’s taken greater than two years to come back to fruition, he mentioned, from shopping for the lot, creating the design for the artwork and organizing the volunteers.
Caughey mentioned she hopes individuals will go to the garden, mirror, ponder and have a good time the worth of all life no matter a life’s traits.
Koss, 49, of Hollidaysburg mentioned he hasn’t titled the metal construction as he prefers to not affect a viewer’s interpretation.
When Caughey views the metallic sculpture, she sees an everlasting flame.
That’s as a result of, Koss mentioned, a number of items of metal have been handled with a cloth to encourage it to rust. These beams appear to be flames or the underside of a blossom bursting forth.
“The rust has been dripping down onto the concrete base so it seems like a blossom popping out of the bottom,” Koss mentioned.
Ending touches will proceed this fall with benches and extra landscaping parts, Caughey mentioned.
Having the area change into a gathering spot in the neighborhood could be superb, the duo mentioned.
For Caughey, the garden is additional particular, not solely to honor her daughter, however due to all of the nameless volunteers who stepped in to make her concept a actuality.
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