PACE Unveils a Major New Public Artwork 'Looking Up' by Tom Friedman

Loan of 'Looking Up' 33-foot-tall steel sculpture to enrich public art on Council Bluffs riverfront

Looking Up, 2015

Pottawattamie Arts, Culture and Entertainment (PACE), the nonprofit developing a $27 million, nearly 95,000 square foot arts and culture center in Council Bluffs, is thrilled to announce the addition of a new piece of public art to their collection.

Tom Friedman’s sculpture, Looking Up (2015), towers thirty-three feet high and is among the largest and most spectacular of Friedman’s works. The American Conceptual Artist transforms mundane materials into improbable and extraordinary works of art. Looking Up makes use of crushed aluminum foil, roasting pans, and baking tins to create a figure, which, through a process of molding and lost wax casting, retains the imprint of the original materials. A charming yet magnificent piece, the polished stainless steel quasi-human figure gazes up to the heavens, inviting others to stand at its base and do the same. 

This is the second Looking Up sculpture in the edition of three, and was most recently installed on Chicago’s lakefront, following a six-month installation in New York City on Park Avenue. The sculpture dedication is scheduled for May 21st and will be on display at Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park through May 2020, located along the scenic Missouri River. The one-year exhibition will add to Council Bluffs’ diverse and expansive collection of art pieces throughout the city.

PACE, an Iowa West Foundation initiative, worked closely with the anonymous donor and the City of Council Bluffs to get the sculpture placed at River’s Edge Park. “Public art not only serves to beautify our green spaces, but it also provides visitors and residents with even more access to cultural opportunities in our parks." said Mayor Matt Walsh. “This is just another example of how Council Bluffs is ‘Unlike anywhere else. On purpose.’”

“Tom Friedman’s work evokes a sense of wonder and challenges the imagination, especially with the transformation of everyday ordinary objects into modernist sculpture. Looking Up is both sophisticated and accessible,” said Danna Kehm, PACE CEO. “However, the meaning, as well as beauty, will always be in the eye of the beholder. We hope the community appreciates the opportunity to experience such a significant piece of modern art created by a world-renowned artist.”

The National Center for Arts Research recently ranked the Council Bluffs metro at No. 6 on the list of most vibrant art communities in the country for medium-sized cities. Things are “looking up” for the arts in the region as construction continues on the Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center, a project being led by PACE. The facility is set to open in February 2020 and will include a 280-seat theater, rehearsal space, exhibit space, classrooms, and more. 

Kehm is encouraging community members to join the artistic renaissance in Council Bluffs and become a vital part of the PACE family through an annual membership. “Your PACE membership will support all that we do, including providing quality arts and cultural community programming for 2019 while we plan and facilitate innovative programs, exhibits, and classes for our new home opening in 2020.” For more information visit



Pottawattamie Arts, Culture & Entertainment (PACE) is a 36-year-old organization, originally organized as the Bluffs Arts Council, with a mission to promote Council Bluffs as a center for excellence in the arts. Today, its focus is on a strategic approach to arts programming within the community, partnering with the Chanticleer Theater, American Midwest Ballet, Kitchen Council and the Kanesville Symphony Orchestra in transforming the historic Harvester II building in the Haymarket District of Council Bluffs into a center for arts and culture in Pottawattamie County. PACE is an Iowa West Foundation initiative. For more information visit

Source: Pottawattamie Arts, Culture & Entertainment (PACE)


Categories: Arts and Entertainment

Tags: Looking Up, PACE, Public Art

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