Cecilia Nasmith, Northumberland Today

COLBORNE — The Colborne streetscape gets a new addition Thursday, when the Colborne Art Gallery unveils the installation of Claus Heinecke's sculpture, Empathy.

The permanent installation has won the approval of the Township of Cramahe, which has been quite supportive, gallery spokeswoman Barb Buntin said.

The sculpture is a donation to the gallery by member artist Heinecke.

"The concept and design were discussed by the membership, and welcomed as a way to showcase the contemporary nature of the work that is exhibited in the Historic Registry building," she said of the building at 51 King St. E. that became an art gallery when the provincial government closed down a number of rural land-registry offices.

Once the township accepted the gallery's proposal, she einecke started work on a piece designed to fit the space.

"We have also consulted with the direct neighbours and public-works department, as well as the Historical Society, in order to outline our intentions," Buntin added.

"We realize that it will have its supporters and detractors, as art always does.

"As with many other pieces of public art, we anticipate a period of adjustment, and trust that the community will grow to accept and embrace the piece as a bold commitment to the vitality of Colborne and the Colborne Art Gallery."

Heinecke describes Empathy as two interlocking cylinders, similar in size and shape, as a metaphor for the idea of empathy, "a quality to be fostered by society for the sake of peace and harmony."

The unveiling takes place Thursday at an Empathy sculpture party, which runs from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.