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Talk to the Hand

Brendan Rose wasn't really thinking about the symbolism at the time.

"I was lying in bed one night, stewing about it, and the idea of a giant hand sort of came to me -- that it could be fun," he said Sunday afternoon in his basement workshop in The Warehouse downtown. He had just finished building a plywood-and-Styrofoam mold for a poured-concrete fingertip about a foot and a half long.

Rose leads the design-build project first suggested by the Cultural Resources Council's Mick Mather and sponsored by 40 Below's Public Arts Task Force to design, make and install a public sculpture downtown on July 26 as part of the festivities of ArtsWeek. Officially named "Tectonic Sculpture 01" because it comprises plates of concrete strapped and bolted together, Rose's giant hand was meant to be taller. Now it's scaled back so that, ideally, two people could move any one of its pieces, even the base segments at about 200 pounds each. Once up, the hand will remain in the plaza outside City Hall Commons for seven weeks and then move to Lipe Art Park on West Fayette Street.

An open hand, palm raised, is the universal sign for peaceful greeting and welcome -- the same sign etched onto gold tablets and launched into space in case there are others like us out there.

Rose, who turned 33 this week, moved back to Syracuse in 2005 after four years of working for The Miller/Hull Partnership, a Seattle architectural firm. He came home to design and build a home for his parents and enter SU's masters architecture program. The house, overlooking a vast sweep of valley past the Madison County wind farm, is almost done. Rose himself lives in the city near SU and has the first year of grad school under his belt. As soon as Rose heard Mick Mather float the public sculpture idea, he bit.

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