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Kaneko glass tower goes up in downtown Lincoln

Kaneko glass tower goes up in downtown Lincoln

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Ascent, the 57-foot glass spire designed by artist Jun Kaneko, is turning heads in downtown Lincoln.

A team from Germany, where the glass panels were made, installed the tower over the past week at 13th and P streets.

The team first erected the tower's steel framework. Then the glass panels were lifted into place by a hoist, and secured.

There are 80 glass panels, each 7 feet tall and 160 pounds, made of two layers of tempered glass glued together, with a final layer of hand-blown, hand-cut stained glass.

Each piece was hand-assembled at the glass studio in Germany, said Susan Schonlau, an assistant at the Kaneko studio in Omaha.

Eventually the tower will be lit from the inside, using true white light to accurately represent the stained glass colors, Schonlau said.

The lights will go in as soon as they arrive from the factory in China, sometime this winter, she said. Tower Square's official dedication is planned for late December or early January.

Kaneko, a Japanese-born sculptor who lives in Omaha, designed the entire park, now called the Lincoln Community Foundation Tower Square.

Japanese sand gardens are the inspiration for pavers that create concentric circles around the multicolored lighted glass tower, according to city Parks and Recreation Director Lynn Johnson.

There is also a blue ceramic tile wall and a triangular pipe structure that will serve as a stage or focal point for performances.

Tower Square cost $2.95 million, which includes $1.15 million to create and install Ascent. It has been funded by donations, tax increment financing and city keno revenue. The Lincoln Community Foundation has also raised a $600,000 endowment to help maintain and repair the tower.

There will be a daytime "Party in the Park" at Tower Square on Oct. 12.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7250 or nhicks@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSNancyHicks.

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Nancy Hicks reports on Lincoln city government, but she’s been following the leaders of local and state government for more than 40 years.

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Much of the art on the website is owned by the University of Nebraska and found on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus, or city-owned pieces that are part of city park landscapes. The city owns art worth an estimated $5.1 million, almost all of it donated, based on a list the city put together for insurance purposes.

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