Carmel Redevelopment Commission approves $430K contract to complete  set of sculptures near Palladium 


A trio of sculptures featuring jazz musicians near the Palladium could soon become a sextet.

The Carmel Redevelopment Commission on Feb. 15 approved a $430,000 contract to purchase three sculptures to complete artist J. Seward Johnson’s set, “My Sixteen-Year-Old Jazz Dreams.”

“It was the mayor’s vision from day one to have the complete set,” CRC Director Henry Mestetsky said. “It is exciting to see it finally being completed.”

Sculptures featuring famous musicians playing a trumpet, trombone and saxophone have been on display in Carmel – initially on loan – for more than five years. In late 2021, the CRC approved purchasing them for $92,000 each, or a total of $276,000.

Mestetsky said that the new sculptures, which feature musicians playing a piano, upright bass and drumset, are much more intricate than the trio already owned by the city.

“It’s unfair to characterize these three sculptures as just three people,” he said. “It’s more like having six sculptures, almost.”

The sculptures are planned to be placed near the Palladium. Mestetsky said the original trio will likely remain together but that the new acquisitions may be spaced out.

The sculptures will be created by the New Jersey-based Seward Johnson Atelier. Mestetsky said he expects they could be delivered to the city by the end of the year, pending CRC approval of the contract.

Carmel has the second-largest collection of Seward Johnson sculptures in the world, behind only the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, N.J.. Located on the former site of the New Jersey State Fairgrounds, the Grounds for Sculpture is a short walk from the Seward Johnson Atelier, which manages the sales and maintenance of Seward Johnson sculptures.