As hummingbirds make their way back to Southwest Michigan this month, it’s only fitting the latest outdoor sculpture in South Haven depicts a large hummingbird gathering nectar from a flower.

The sculpture, titled, “A Moment of Joy,” was unveiled this past weekend in front of Clementine’s Restaurant, in South Haven’s downtown district.

South Haven artist Lou Rodriguez fabricated the giant hummingbird and flowers from steel, and used color-shifting paints that change colors from green to purple to blue, depending on the viewing angle.

“It reminds me of the iridescent quality of hummingbirds in nature,” Rodriquez said.

Rodriguez has been fascinated with art throughout his time growing up in South Haven, where he took part in local art competitions. He moved on to creating costumes and movie props as an adult.

In 2009, he got involved in the Ice Breaker, an ice sculpture contest. The experience sparked his interest in making sculptures.

As a welder and steel fabricator at RCI Adventure Products in Holland, Rodriguez moved from ice to steel and created his first piece, “A Dragon for Jonas,” in 2010.

It would go on to finish in the Top 25 at ArtPrize – an international public art competition that’s held every two years in Grand Rapids.

“A Moment of Joy” is the newest of nearly a dozen sculptures now on display in downtown South Haven.

Five of those sculptures were made possible through a partnership of the South Haven Center for the Arts and South Haven Downtown Development Authority.

The authority provides seed funding for the creation of the sculptures. Then, private donors buy the pieces from the artists and donate them to the city to be installed throughout downtown.

Through the South Haven Center for the Arts Grow Your Own Sculpture program, sculptures can be donated to the city of South Haven through a tax deductible donation that supports the artist.

Paul Hix and Michael Morey donated “A Moment of Joy” to the city, as well as another other sculpture created by Carolyn Robinson Fink. Dana and Teresa Getman donated another sculpture by Kathy Kreager.

Two additional pieces are available for purchase which were donated to the city – Mark Toncray’s “Dune Anchor” in front of Black River Tavern, and John Sauve’s “Faust” across the street from Clementine’s by Johnny’s Lakeshore Jewelry.

The South Haven Center for the Arts’ effort to add art to the downtown area is expected to continue.

Another artist stipend for the Grow Your Own Sculpture program is now available.

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