By Judy Deeter
A solar eclipse in the sky above us is a rare sight to see. Much has been written about the Great North American Eclipse of April 8, 2024 because such a solar eclipse is seldom seen. In Troy, Ohio, however, there is an eclipse that can be seen every day. The Troy eclipse is a sculpture at the Hobart Urban Nature Preserve named the “Eclipse.” The artwork is a constant reminder of the times when the Sun or Moon is hidden (at least partially) from we Earthlings. It is one of six sculptures in the park.
The Miami County Visitors Bureau website describes the sculptures in the park. It says, “A unique aspect of this park is the collection of 4 welded steel sculptures donated by the Hobart Welding Institute, placed in specific habitats to highlight the relationship between nature and art.” (Note: A new sculpture, formerly part of a fountain at the Hobart Welding School in Troy was recently added, and another work is located near the maintenance barn and visible from the parking lot). These sculptures can be seen at the bottom of this article.
The park consists of 82 acres of former farm land, which was donated to the Miami County Park District in 1997 by members of the C.C. Hobart family. C.C. Hobart was the founder of both the Hobart Electric Manufacturing Company (now ITW Food Equipment Group – Hobart) and Hobart Brothers Company. Hobart family members involved in the land donation were those of William Hobart, Peter Hobart, William Howell and Robert Bravo. In 1999, a master plan for the park was created. It opened to the public in 2007.
The “Eclipse” was created in 1970 by artist Aka Pereyma, pictured below. According to a sign at the park’s entrance, the sculpture is made of Cor-ten steel. A description of Cor-ten steel on Wikipedia says it “is a group of steel alloys which were developed to eliminate the need for painting, and form a stable rust-like appearance after several years’ exposure to weather.” Cor-ten was created by U.S. Steel Corporation in the 1930s. It was first used in railroad cars that carried heavy loads such as coal or metal ores. Wikipedia says that the word Cor-ten refers to “corrosion resistance and tensile strength.” (The word tensile means steel can be stretched, is flexible and can withstand tension.)
Aremenia (Aka) Bohumla Pereyma was an internationally known artist, skilled in several artistic mediums. She was born in Siedice, Poland in 1927 as the daughter of Ukrainian school teachers Andrij and Paulina (Elijiw) Klym. Her family moved to Ukraine in 1940 and on to Austria in 1944. (Keep in mind that German troops invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, starting World War II. This may have been a reason the family returned to their native Ukraine.) In 1948, she married Dr. Constatine Pereyma at Erlangen, Germany. In 1950, they came to the United States and settled in Brooklyn, New York. They came to Troy in 1959 where Dr. Pereyma established his medical practice.
Not long after coming to Troy, Mrs. Pereyma invited friends to her home to teach them how to paint Ukrainian-style Easter eggs. She soon decided to pursue her education in art. She studied both at the School of the Dayton Art Institute (1960-1963) and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1963-1964). In 1966, she received a degree in sculpture from the Dayton Art Institute School. She learned to weld at the Hobart Brothers Welding for Artists course. From 1970 to 1980, she was the artist coordinator for that program at the Hobart School of Welding Technology. She created paintings and sculptures that were in exhibited in the Ukraine, America and Canada.
Aka Pereyma received many awards during her lifetime for her artistic creations. She was honored with a citation and medal from the Ukrainian government in 2001. In 2003, the Ohio Arts Council proclaimed she was a “living cultural treasure” when they honored her in their first group of Ohio Heritage Fellows.
Mrs. Pereyma passed away on December 9, 2013. She is buried at Riverside Cemetery in Troy.
Along with her sculpture Eclipse in Troy, Pereyma’s sculpture Jacob’s Ladder is on permanent display at the intersection of East Main and South Mulberry streets, a painted mural titled Rising Sun, Setting Sun (probably her most widely seen work) on the east side of the historic Mayflower Theater building in downtown Troy (pictured below) and her artwork can also be seen at the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center.
Any day, anyone can see an “Eclipse” in Troy. They just need to take a walk at the Hobart Urban Nature Preserve.
The Hobart Urban Nature Preserve is located at 1400 Tyrone Road. The entrance to the park is along South Dorset Road. It is open sunrise to sunset.
Learn more about Aka HERE.