A local artist was named the first prize winner in the first all New York artists rendition of the Cherry Valley Sculpture Trail.

According to a media release, first prize, which carries a stipend of $1,000, was awarded to Springfield Center artist Akira Niitsu for his work, Galaxy Vessel. Niitsu operates a studio and foundry in the former Springfield Center school building on U.S. Route 20.

The work is described as a play on dualities. Intertwining strands of stainless steel and brass, some twisted into nests, others reaching into space horizontally and vertically, create balanced, interconnected forms.

The sculpture becomes a galaxy, evoking an infinite universe, transforming and transcending its materials.

The second prize of $500 was awarded to Christopher Yockey of Astoria, Queens, for his piece, “Wedding Gift.” The piece, created entirely of stainless steel, is described as “representing an industrial age that presents a dramatic aura against its natural surroundings.” Its repetitive forms and cut-out shapes are believed to evoke organic qualities, making for a harmonious dialogue between a man-made object and nature itself, the release said.

Art curator and gallerist Tamara Saba judged the show.

This year’s Sculpture Trail was dedicated to the memory of artist Devra Freelander,  who died in Bushwick, Brooklyn, after being hit by a cement truck while riding her bicycle, shortly after installing her sculpture in Cherry Valley. Future Artifact, created with artist Gracelee Lawrence, was displayed in Times Square for six months before arriving in Cherry Valley.

Freelander, who was 28 years old, was a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and had just completed a residency at Sculpture Space in Utica.

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