The Tumbler on Park Central Square

City of Springfield Assistant Public Works Director Jonathan Gano unearthed a few surprises when he was doing research on Park Central Square in the spring of 2012.

Hoping to find out if the large, brown steel structure on the square had a name, he tracked down the artwork’s sculptor, Aris Demetrios, after locating information from news accounts.

Gano obtained an email address and said within five minutes, the 81-year-old

Demetrios answered from an iPhone in Montecito, Calif.

“I was shocked to get an answer so quickly. Not only did I find out the name of the piece was The Tumbler, but I also found out it was named that because it was supposed to be re-oriented every season, so in effect, you have a new piece of art.”

The Tumbler was installed on the square in 1971 and is regarded as Springfield’s first piece of modern art. It hadn’t been rotated as planned by the original sculptor until this year, but Gano says the City’s Public Works department plans to make its next rotation this fall. “It inspired a lot of commentary, conversation and even a little bit of controversy when it arrived,” Gano says of the history he uncovered.

Creation of the Tumbler was funded by an arts patron identified as “Mrs. Monroe Swyers” who reportedly donated $15,000 which Demetrios says barely covered the cost of steel to make it.