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Board of County Commissioners

Posted on: November 10, 2022

Lucas County Commissioners dedicate new Glass City Center plaza in honor of Susan R. Reams

TOLEDO, OH – The Lucas County Commissioners today announced that the new outdoor plaza on Summit Street at the newly renovated Glass City Center, Powered by ProMedica will be named in honor of Susan R. Reams, who played a key role in the selection process of the public art displayed in the convention center.

“When people go to the Glass City Center to attend an event and they see the Blue Lupine and other signature art pieces in the building, they can thank Susan Reams for her contributions to bring art to our community. She has almost unilaterally created a culture in Toledo and Lucas County that defines us as an arts community,” Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak said. “The arts are essential to quality of life, and it is fitting we are honoring Mrs. Reams this way. She has made a lasting impact on creativity in our community.”

 “Mrs. Reams has been a pioneer and visionary in the art community,” said Commissioner Gary L. Byers. “We are proud to name this new plaza after this iconic woman to honor her for her many years of contributions and dedication. I cannot think of a more fitting tribute. There is no one who has done more to enrich our lives with arts and culture than Mrs. Reams.”

Mrs. Reams served as Chairperson of the Glass City Center Public Art Committee, which guided the selection process for the art and sculptures in the Glass City Center. Among the public art included in the convention center renovation are the 30-foot sculpture Blue Lupine by Susan Zoccola, which is located on the Susan R. Reams Plaza, and Erwin Redl’s Ladder of Light, which illuminates the Monroe Street stairwell entrance with 700 light elements on three columns.

“Mrs. Reams is deserving of this recognition because of the incredible impact she has made to integrate art throughout the community. Over the last 50 years, she has been an invaluable resource in the efforts to bring elegance and vibrancy and to strengthen arts and culture in Lucas County,” Commissioner Pete Gerken said.

The Commissioners were joined at the dedication ceremony by Marc D. Folk, President & CEO of The Arts Commission. 

“Susan Reams is a public art pioneer whose legacy can be seen throughout the region and the state. We are delighted that the plaza has been named in her honor. Standing next to Blue Lupine, this plaza will make sure that future generations know the name of the iconic leader who gave the gift of public art to our community,” Mr. Folk said.

Mrs. Reams, of Perrysburg and a former longtime Ottawa Hills resident, was the founder of the One Percent for Art Program, which has set aside one percent of all city money appropriated for municipal construction for public artwork since 1977. The program became the model for other cities in Ohio and paved the way to have more than 50 public art pieces in the city of Toledo. She continues to participate actively on design review boards for new acquisitions as a member of the Art in Public Places committee.

In the early 1990s, Mrs. Reams took her expertise and commitment statewide when she chaired the Ohio Arts Council’s Percent for Art committee and successfully advocated for a one percent dedication for arts on state-funded building projects. 

Mrs. Reams initiated the Toledo Alight campaign to light the bridges over the Maumee River in downtown Toledo in 1985. She also was instrumental in the restoration and reopening of the historic Valentine Theatre. 

She was the driving force behind the installation of Erwin Redl’s special lighting system on the Anthony Wayne Bridge. She led the fund-raising campaign that made the lights possible, and the project is the first phase of a Nautical Mile of lighting along the Maumee River between the Anthony Wayne Bridge and Martin Luther King Jr. bridges.

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