3 public art proposals for Ann Arbor Justice Center under consideration
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Members of the Ann Arbor Public Art Commission have three proposals to choose from when they meet next week to discuss a $150,000 city-funded art installation.
Aaron Seagraves, the city's public art administrator, said the commission will be looking at the proposals at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday on the second floor of city hall.
Three artists from around the nation — Thomas Sayre, Ed Carpenter and Ray King — were chosen as finalists for a suspended artwork in the corner of the lobby of the new Justice Center, which stands adjacent to city hall at Huron Street and Fifth Avenue downtown.
After a decision is made by the art commission, the winning proposal goes on to the Ann Arbor City Council for final consideration.
The installation schedule will be up to the artist primarily, Seagraves said. An earlier timeline called for completion by June, but he said September is probably more realistic.
'Radius' by Ed Carpenter
Carpenter's proposal is titled "Radius." It measures 40 feet by 20 feet by 12 feet and is made of dichroic glass, aluminum and stainless steel, with integral LED spot and flood lighting.
Carpenter specializes in large-scale public installations ranging from architectural sculpture to infrastructure design. He works internationally from his studio in Portland, Oregon.
His work can be found inside the Portland Justice Center, Michigan State University's Brody Hall, Rockefeller Center in New York, Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, a U.S. Courthouse in Seattle, Orlando City Hall and many other places.
"Radius is designed to involve as much of the lobby as possible radiating from the southeast corner, visible from inside and outside, day and night," Carpenter's proposal states. "Lighting contained in its hollow center will illuminate gleaming glass and anodized aluminum details, creating elegant views of its expansive forms.''
When sun strikes, dichroic glass elements will project and reflect colored light deep into the space in luminous compositions, slowly moving through the lobby in response to "the art of the sun and the passing of clouds," the proposal states.
Untitled by Thomas Sayre
Sayre is a sculptor based in Raleigh, North Carolina. He's the co-founder of a multidisciplinary design firm called Clearscapes, which has tailored its proposal to be unique to Ann Arbor, taking on the shape of the city.
"Acting as a structural grid to hold the piece up and allowing it to be suspended from the beams above the ceiling will be a composition of the primary roads which, for the most part, serve as the borders of the city of Ann Arbor. Made of power-coated steel, the roads define the place where both the 15th Judicial District Court and the Police Department serve."
Populating the map will be a complex composition of cut-out figures with outstretched arms, symbolizing the people of Ann Arbor. A large omni-directional light will send light out through the sculpture to create "continually varying light as one moves through the lobby space or around the southwest corner of the building," the proposal states.
"Depending upon one's position, the light will find its way through the soaring people and cast a myriad of shadows and highlights throughout the cloud."
To add sparkle to the overall effect, as well as to create complex shadows on the floor, exterior spotlights from a track above on the ceiling will be used.
Sayre's work can be found in many places, including Nashville, Denver, Oklahoma City, Tucson, San Jose, Washington, D.C., Phoenix, Portland, and even Mount Pleasant, Mich.
'Wings of Light' by Ray King
King is a Philadelphia-based artist specializing in suspended sculptures that project and reflect light and color into the surrounding environment.
Inspired by mythological representations of Lady Justice, often portrayed with wings, it's intended to symbolize justice, truth, protection, mercy and compassion.
"These qualities relate to the ideals of justice to expose the truth, offer protection to victims and merciful compassion to the sinners," King's proposal states.
"I hope to subconsciously inspire those who view it to experience a sense of hope and optimism for the future," the proposal continues. "It is my hope that such an uplifting and ever-changing image will speak to the people of Ann Arbor and those who visit the Justice Center, instilling a sense of beauty and dignity to their everyday lives, and reminding them that life itself is a journey of enlightenment. The elegant sculpture will become a strong and powerful visual landmark, as well as an iconographic image for the region."
King's work can be found in many places, including the Orlando International Airport, Sarasota City Hall in Florida, the Performing Arts Center at the University of North Iowa, University of Utah, University of Wisconsin and Cornell Medical College in New York.
Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com's email newsletters.