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From the time that planning for Minnetrista began in the mid-1980s, there was always to be a sculpture in the middle of the circle drive in front of the Center Building. Minnetrista Cultural Center opened in 1988 with no sculpture, and it took another sixteen years before one was erected. But what a sculpture it is!

Minnetrista before Catalyst

In 2003, Virginia B. Ball chose Indianapolis artist, Beverly Stucker Precious, to create a sculpture that would honor the memory of her late husband, Edmund F. Ball, founding chair of Minnetrista’s board. Unfortunately, Virginia died before the sculpture, named Catalyst, was created and installed, prompting her brother-in-law, John W. Fisher, to describe the sculpture as “an inspiring memorial to two great people.”

Initial construction of the sculpture, which is comprised of 32,000 pounds of limestone, 17,000 pounds of stainless steel, and 2,000 pounds of glass, occurred at Precious’s Indianapolis studio. Her team of fabricators worked eighteen-hour days to complete the sculpture. In mid-June, 2004, the twenty-six foot high sculpture started its journey from Indianapolis to Muncie in very early morning in order to avoid traffic. Long days continued on-site, as Precious and her team started by 7 a.m. and worked into the evening hours finishing the sculpture and setting it in place. More than 4,000 hours went into the making of Catalyst.

Welding Catalyst at the artist’s studio

It was a beautiful day on June 24, 2004, when the sculpture was dedicated. Nancy Ball Keilty, daughter of Ed and Virginia Ball, noted in her public remarks that she realized how “incredibly appropriate this tribute is to my father and my mother. My parents had tremendous enthusiasm for life. They had an uncanny ability to see the complex and critical components of an issue and at precisely the right moment . . . knew how to energize and maximize and outcome. In other words, they were catalysts.” Catalyst was now in place and the original design for Minnetrista was complete.

Assembly at Minnetrista

Dedication, June 24, 2004

Next time you are at Minnetrista, take a good look at the sculpture and notice how the colors of the glass shifts and changes in different lights and different seasons. Then look up at the circle of glass at the very top—my very favorite part of Catalyst. That’s cullet, or, in other words, plain, old pieces of Ball jars. How appropriate.