Call Brian Tolle the Clay Aiken of Cleveland Public Art's latest design competition. Though 21-year-old Cleveland Heights native Jake Beckman was named the winner, logistical issues kept his proposal for a 60-foot-tall man dragging a cube from becoming aTreality ("Art Breaker," February 2004). Now, Tolle's creation will adorn downtown's Mall B green space for the next two years. The design, which CPA's jury selected as one of four finalists, features 12 neoclassical planters sculpted to look as though they were bent by lake-effect winds. ΩThey're very whimsical," says Tolle, 40, of New York City. "I think, ultimately, they're fun and challenging to look at." The pieces are carved entirely out of Styrofoam and sprayed with a polyurethane finish, so engineers should not encounter the weigΩt issues that caused the price of Beckman's project to exceed the Mall Beautification Fund's $100,000 budget. "I think the concept of the piece is intriguing and look forward to seeing the installation in its finished state," says Beckman. CPA says Tolle's installation should be completed in time for the International Children's Games in July.
When we last checked in with author Dan Chaon, he had just been named a 2001 finalist for the National Book Award for his collection of short stories "Among the Missing" and was slogging through writing his then-untitled debut novel. That novel, "You Remind Me of Me," tackles themes of identity, fate and circumstance through the intertwining stories of four seemingly unrelated characters and will be published by Ballantine in June. Meanwhile, Random House Publishing Group has inked a deal with Chaon for worldwide publishing rights to two subsequent novels, the first of which will hit bookstores in fall 2006. Still, such success hasn't soured Chaon on his day job just yet. He remains an associate professor at Oberlin College.