Metal artist has unique industrial heritage vision for Westfield

WESTFIELD-While artists across the country are choosing to decorate fiberglass molds of a mascot to represent their communities, metal artist Sebastian Glebocki has a different vision for Westfield.

“I’m a stickler for recycling,” said Glebocki, who relishes creating art work from recycled materials that has a “zero impact” on the environment.

Among Glebocki’s creations is a High Wheeled Penny Farthing Bicycle that captures the essence of the city’s early bicycle manufacturing endeavors. The bicycles are made from local recycled materials including old cow stands that were used for milking, tractor seats found in fields, and other machinery parts discarded long ago.

Westfield metal artist Sebastian Glebocki designs one-of-a-kind high wheeled penny farthing bicycles. (DANNY NASON PHOTO)

“I enjoy hunting through old farms, barns and fields looking for random stuff that I can recycle,” said Glebocki. “My overall goal for these bicycles is to give us an edge on every other community in the USA.”

Glebocki admits that because of his unique approach to the project, it does take a little longer “to put my vision together” for each bike.

“My son Conner also helps with dreaming these things up along with the fabrication,” he said.

“Thanks to the generous $2,500 donation from the community through ArtWorks of Westfield’s Bicycle Go Fund Me page, our community purchased one of the bikes and the generous $2,500 purchase from Westfield Bank for a second bicycle,” said Cheryl Crowe, an ArtWorks board member. 

Crowe noted that the ArtWorks board donated $500 to purchase custom plaques to be placed with the bicycles once installed.

“A special thank you to Kevin O’Connor, executive vice president, chief banking officer, at Westfield Bank, Westfield Bank’s board of directors, and the residents of Westfield collaborating with ArtWorks of Westfield, Inc. to help make this possible,” said Crowe.

Crowe noted that one of the bicycles will be installed at City Hall and the other at Westfield Bank’s main branch on Elm Street. The projected goal of installing the bikes is by the end of summer or early fall.

“Working with DPW Assistant Director Francis Kane, Director of Engineering Mark Cressotti with assistance from Matthew Gamelli, and Director of Community Development Peter Miller, has helped pave the way for the future installation of the bicycles for our community,” said Crowe.

Glebocki added that he and Crowe are finalizing plans for modification and approval by DPW and Engineering.

Conner Glebocki assists his father, Sebastian Glebocki, on bicycle designs and fabrication. (DANNY NASON PHOTO)

“ArtWorks couldn’t be more blessed to have the generous support of DPW and Engineering to complete the project,” said Crowe.

A third bicycle is under review for installation at the Women’s Temperance Park on the north side of the Great River Bridges once the project is completed and the additional funds have been raised to purchase the bicycle, according to Crowe.

“These high wheeled penny farthing bicycles are Westfield’s historical legacy that is unique from any other community,” said Crowe, adding the purchase price of one of the bicycles is $2,500. “The purchase price is reasonable considering it is solid metal and will last a lifetime.”

Metal artist Sebastian Glebocki has displayed his high wheeled penny farthing bicycles during ArtWalk events in Westfield. (DANNY NASON PHOTO)

For businesses, organizations or individuals interested in more information about purchasing a bicycle, send inquiries to Glebocki via his Facebook or Instagram pages – Sebastian Sube Glebocki, or send an email to [email protected].

In other ArtWorks news, Crowe noted that dealing with the coronavirus pandemic has been a challenge for members but they all quickly found unique ways to collaborate with the community.

“Sometimes we need a positive lift to remind us of the humanity and kindness that gives us hope and unity when we need it the most,” said Crowe.

Among the collaborations during the early months of the pandemic were free online art classes for all ages, hosted by artist and ArtWorks board member Shannon Chiba.

“Westfield Gas & Electric graciously sponsored the classes to help bring the community together in a time of need,” said Crowe.

Also, the first mural project to be performed in Westfield by ArtWorks of Westfield was approved May 21 with the full support of the Westfield City Council, noted Crowe.

“The project is completely funded by the community and volunteer run,” she said, adding the theme is “Heroes are Everywhere.”

Once the mural is complete, a seal coat will be applied to protect the mural.

“ArtWorks artist Shannon Chiba is the artistry organizer leader for this mural as well as her long-time vision to see this happen,” said Crowe. “A special thanks to councilors Ralph Figy and Bridget Matthews-Kane for their supportive role to our community.”

Also, artist and printmaker Donna Carmel, an ArtWorks board member, hosted free printmaking workshops for the community using recyclable items, and is also hosting a show titled “It’s real not digital” at her Little River Studio this month. The show is by appointment only to maintain social distancing safely.

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