07 Sep Partner in the Arts: Meyer Najem Construction
Corporate citizenship focused on the arts
On a chilly spring day in May, Cynthia Tucker found herself in the studio of Kevin Huff. The sculptor had been commissioned by Meyer Najem to create a large piece of art on the grounds of the construction company’s headquarters on Lantern Road in the heart of the Nickel Plate District in Fishers. Inside Huff’s space, Tucker saw huge pieces of unfinished metal welded together. It was hard to imagine how it would look when complete.
The visionary leading Meyer Najem’s arts initiatives is CEO Anthony Najem. The company’s commitment to fine art plays out through support of local arts organizations including Nickel Plate Arts and the Fishers Arts Council and projects like the commission of an outdoor sculpture. Anthony Najem joined the Nickel Plate Arts board, and Meyer Najem is the first private business in the Nickel Plate District to invest in and install public outdoor art.
The latest major project is the opening of a public gallery space on the second floor of Meyer Najem. The spacious open-concept gallery includes gray and white walls, offering a variety of backgrounds to contrast with the artwork. A hallway branches off the gallery with multiple spotlights to showcase more art. High ceilings and exposed ductwork round out the contemporary space.
Nickel Plate Arts assisted with the plan and a hanging system that will make it easy to rotate art in and out. Tucker says the hanging system for the large space was delivered in a tiny box. She was grateful to work at a construction company where plenty of people are good at putting things together.
Lelsey Haflich, a Nickel Plate Arts Studio Artist, became the first official exhibitor in Meyer Najem’s new space. The company hosted a reception for her show, “Art About Roundabouts,” on June 15, the same evening as the Fishers Arts Crawl. Her collection features 13 paintings from Haflich’s “Roundabout Series” and five contemporary landscape paintings. Ail McGill, Nickel Plate Arts Director, and Cecilia Coble, John Weingardt and Jocelyn Vare from the Fishers Arts Council attended the reception.
“Meyer Najem is the perfect venue for art since they are on the cutting edge of building modern structures that are not only functional but artistically designed,” Haflich says. “They are very connected with the community and with Nickel Plate Arts.”
Huff’s commissioned sculpture was perhaps the first visually public representation of that connection. Not long after Tucker’s visit, Huff and a small team transported all those finished metal pieces from his Noblesville studio to Meyer Najem for assembly.
On June 3, the cloth-draped 12-foot metal sculpture painted in shades of gray titled “Siege the Day” was unveiled. It’s a set of two taut lines connecting each end of the curled bases and two giant cylinders. But what you see in the piece is entirely up to you.
Tucker sees a pair of catapults. Other people see an older couple, stooped with age. “Artwork is supposed to make people talk and think,” Tucker paraphrases Anthony Najem.
Art About Roundabouts
“My goal for 2016 has been to venture more into abstract painting, and roundabouts were the perfect inspiration since there have been so many built in Hamilton County in recent years. I am impressed by the positive benefits they have had on traffic flow and fuel and emission conservation. I have been experimenting with a sculpting medium for my circular shapes. This gives the surface texture a unique look. The paintings are painted with a combination of acrylic and oil paints.” — Lesley Haflich