“Just Relax” was one of Kyle Robeson’s favorite sayings. According to Eric Robeson, Kyle’s son, he said it often. “The fact that the advice was often delivered in an authoritative tone sometimes made it hard to comply, but he always meant well.” That saying and Kyle’s love of animals were the inspiration for a seating area including a bench and three dog sculptures recently installed on the west side of Robeson Park in Champaign.
When identifying a location for the artwork, Robeson Park was a natural. The family donated the 27.5 acres that would become Robeson Park in 1973. Kyle and his father, Frank Robeson Jr., donated the land to provide a much-needed park in the West Champaign area, to provide an additional playground for neighborhood children and students of Robeson School and to honor the memory of Kyle’s grandfather, F.K. Robeson Sr., the founder of Robeson’s Department Store.
Tim Summerville, a local artist from St. Joseph created the pieces that make up “Just Relax.” The family knew of Tim’s work in creating animals using steel through local installations coordinated by the Public Art League. “I am a maker,” Tim says. “I have always had a strong drive to make things using pencils, paints, wood, glass and now metal.
“This piece is an excellent addition to the park and people are really taking notice!” said Joe DeLuce, Champaign Park District Executive Director. “Kyle Robeson gave so much to this community and it feels great to have a chance to honor him in this way.”
“We hope people take the opportunity to sit on the bench, relax and enjoy the park with their friends, the dogs,” Phyllis, Kyle’s wife, said. “We really could not imagine ‘Just Relax’ turning out any better.”
Head over to Robeson Park to check out this new installation!