The Process: Public Art and Placemaking

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DC Ward 7 Green Community Arch sculpture located at the new Unity Healthcare Building.

One of the Washington Glass Studio’s most ambitious public art projects has just completed installation. The DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities commissioned the sculpture for the new Unity Healthcare facility in Washington, DC, and the glass-and-steel artwork was installed without a problem this week.

Michael Janis bolts the panels to the top of the public art sculpture before the work is hoisted into place.

Michael Janis bolts the panels to the top of the public art sculpture before the work is hoisted into place.

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Concept design for the Green Community Gateway Arch

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The public artwork concept was designed and engineered to a high level.

The design of the public artwork was intended to mark the symbolic entrance to the Kenilworth / Parkside section of DC’s Ward 7. This area (near Caeser Chavez charter school, the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and the Anacostia Freeway) was recently identified as a DC Promise neighborhood – and its experiencing a renewed investment in neighborhood revitalization. After meeting with community representatives, the WGS team focused on themes that were strongly held. A “Community Gateway Arch” became the vision for the placemaking sculpture that would help identify the new environment. The glass panel insets in the 16′ tall sculpture would be made with the help of the neighborhood residents, students of the high school, and the staff of the new Unity Healthcare facility. The Washington Glass Studio worked with the DC Creates! Public Art Program selection committee, the DCCAH Council, Unity Parkside Health Care, the Ward 7 ANC and the community and held a series of glass “quilting-bees” and made a communal environment where community and art were not separate. 

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Artist Erwin Timmers oversaw the structural integration of support framework, LED lighting and glass panel insets.

The 16′ high x 14′ wide sculpture lit internally with LED lighting was one of the largest outdoor artworks installed to date for the Washington Glass Studio, and much went into the design, engineering and the fabrication of the steel framework. 

DCCAH invitation to Ward 7 to make glass at WGS

DCCAH invitation to Ward 7 to make glass at WGS

In early 2014, with the structural foundation for the artwork finished and the steel framework underway, the call went out to the community to come make glass. By directly involving the public in the creation of the new landmark, the space would resonate because the artwork would have meaning to all – as everyone had the chance to tell their story.  The glass workshops were packed. Many of the people that came to work in glass returned to each of the scheduled dates – they loved working in glass and wanted to see how the artwork changed once fired. 

DC ANC Commissioner Willie H. Woods, Jr and DCCAH Exec Director Lionell Thomas were among the community enlisted to interact with the glass artwork.

DC ANC Ward 7 Commissioner Willie H. Woods, Jr and DCCAH Exec Director Lionell Thomas were among the community enlisted to interact with the glass artwork.

By having many area residents making the glass art insets, the sculpture has an increased sense of local identity. The artwork arch stimulates curiosity, inspired some of the budding artists to consider new artistic avenues and on occasion, create a smile.

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Many voices told many stories in the inset panels that made up the glass quilt archway.

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Opposite view of Washington, DC’s Green Community Arch.

The formal opening ceremony of the Anacostia Arch with DC Mayor Gray is now being scheduled. We will update on the school’s FB page and on the blog!

Project Details

  • Location: Corner Hayes Street & Kenilworth Terrace, NE; Washington, DC 20019
  • Washington Glass Studio Public Art Team: Michael Janis, Tim Tate, Erwin Timmers, Audrey Wilson, Derek Thomas, Miles Lark, Cris Chaney and Robyn Townsend
  • Structural Engineers: Holbert Apple Associates, Inc and Wolfman and Associates
  • Structural Steel: Iron Kingdom
  • Number of Glass Tile Insets: Over 300
  • Weight of Sculpture: 2000 lbs

Washington Glass Studio Projects

Most of you know about the Washington Glass School’s extensive glass classes and the artwork, but many of you don’t know the third component of the Washington Glass Studio.  The Washington Glass Studio was established in 2001 to deliver artwork to the public realm by creating site specific art for architectural and landscape environments. Here is a highlight of a few recent projects to give a scope of what we are capable of producing.

"Gateway To Community"   Glass and steel arch for Washington, DC Ward 7. Under Construction

“Gateway To Community” Glass and steel arch for Washington, DC Ward 7. Under Construction

We are currently finishing a commissioned public art sculpture in Washington, DC’s Ward 7 - in front of the Unity Parkside Health Clinic and across the street from Caesar Chavez High School. This sculpture will be one of the first public art projects in Ward 7. Consisting of a 16 foot high tri-sided glass covered arch, the entire concept was derived from meeting with the community in the Kenilworth neighborhood.

The residents of the community participated in the creation of the glass elements for the public artwork sculpture.

The residents of the community participated in the creation of the glass elements for the public artwork sculpture.

Made up from steel tube sections the steel framework is clad in covered in colorful kilncast glass panels bolted to the structure. Over 300 tiles were required to complete the structure. These 300 tiles we all hand made by volunteers in the community surrounding the arch. The artwork will be internally illuminated with LED lighting throughout the sculpture. Installation is set for end of May/early June.

The Architect of the Capitol provides design direction for the historic Library of Congress Adams Building.

The Architect of the Capitol provides design direction for the historic Library of Congress Adams Building.

Of our recent public art works, the most acclaimed is our cast glass doors for the Library of Congress’ Adams Building. The original doors were cast bronze from the early WPA days. They were designed by Lee Lawrie, who is most known for his designs at Rockefeller Center in NYC. The original bronze bas-relief doors had ceased to be functional years ago, and the entrances were not up to current safety and security code. In a moment of courage and insight, one of the architects of the Architect Of The Capital’s office realized that if the bronze doors were redesigned with glass replicas of the original bronze bas-relief, then he could bring them up to code and increase safety, for much less money.  We then took on this multi-year project, with spectacular results.

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There were 6 sets of these doors, facing the east and west sides of the Adams Building. American Craft Magazine did a feature story on our work for the Library of Congress and its process – click here to jump to the magazine’s article online.

A smaller scale work was created for the charity organization “Food and Friends” new outdoor park. We made a cast glass Donor Wall that was to honor those who have passed away, to support to charitable work of the organization and to encourage donors to participate. Bas-relief cast glass panels in complementary colors set into a steel framework allows light to pass thru the memorial wall and create colors and patterns on the surrounding plaza. The nature of the glass panels encourages tactile investigation and contemplative interaction.

Food and Friends organization commissioned an outdoor donor wall for their park alongside their Riggs Road facility.

Food and Friends organization commissioned an outdoor donor wall for their park alongside the charity’s Washington, DC facility.

Lastly, one of our most distinguished works was for the Safeway supermarket Bethesda, Maryland. The original store was to be demolished to make way for a much larger structure with parking on the ground floor. As the grocer was committed to Green building, the new structure was to be the first LEED certified grocery store in Montgomery County, and we integrated eco-friendly materials, using recycled glass from the demolished store and re-purposing them to make the new glass and steel ground level building façade. The ground floor building skin was designed to conceal the parking garage function without completely enclosing it.  Here is the result:

Glass recycled from the original site's building was incorporated into Safeway supermarket's first LEED certified building in Montgomery County, MD.

Glass recycled from the original site’s building was incorporated into Safeway supermarket’s first LEED certified building in Montgomery County, MD.

This is only a fraction of what we have competed and what we are capable of doing. No job is too large or too complex. Our architectural design and technical team work well with architects and designers. We are currently looking for additional projects, so let us know in case you know of any, or know someone who might!

International Glass & Clay Exhibit Travels To UK Museum

International Glass & Clay exhibit in Washington, DC, March 2013

This year, Sister City art organizations enabled Washington, DC to host an exhibit of glass and clay artwork by US and UK artists during the month of March. The Washington Glass School – one of the partners in the exhibition – has had a history of working with artists from Washington, DC’s Sister City of Sunderland, England, which is President George Washington’s ancestral home.
 
The International Glass & Clay exhibit that was originally held here in DC in March of 2013 has moved on – and over the pond – landing in the UK, with the exhibition opening at the Sunderland Museum, in Sunderland, England. Currently, the main show at the museum is an exhibit of tapestries by noted English artist Grayson Perry, titled “In The Vanity of Small Differences“.
Exhibiting at two venues in the City of Sunderland, the exhibit again integrates and mixes works by artists from both cities from August 22nd - September 29th 2013. DC artists exhibiting: Sean Hennessey, Jeff Herrity, Michael Janis, Tamara Laird, Laurel Lukaszewski, Tim Tate, Novie Trump. UK artists exhibiting: Stephen Beardsell, Criss Chaney, James Maskrey, Brian Thompson, Robyn Townsend, Margareth Troli, Roger Tye, Phil Vickery and Philippa Whiteside.

Novie Trump’s ceramic installation looks incredible.

If you find yourself in England’s beautiful North East, wandering along the River Wear – do pop into the Museum. Oh, and stop by the National Glass Center for a spot of Prince Rupert’s Drop

International Glass & Clay
August 22 – September 29, 2013 
Sunderland Museum and Creative Cohesion

DC Artist Exchange Presents Panel Discussion on Studio Incubators

DCartistexchange (DCax) is a collaborative project developed by several DC-based arts and cultural organizations. DCax is a series of events and tools designed to explore new ways to build community. The kick-off series includes five panel discussions around the broad topic of artist space in the city, four in-person creative networking events called Swap Meets, and a website (dcartistexchange.org) meant to engage members through a virtual community space. 

photos by Alan Kayanan

The DCax Panel Series focuses on the broad topic of artist space in the Washington, DC area.

This Saturday, August 17, there will be a Panel Discussion that  focuses on artist studio incubators. These spaces are created by and for artists as places to work and create. Presenters will discuss the development and operations of these spaces.

You are invited for the following:
10:30am-11:30am – Panel discussion
11:30am-12:30pm – Walking tour (lunch included) to review, discuss and experience Dance Place, Brookland Artists Lofts, and after, we will head over to the Monroe Street Market to see the 27 artists studios and their two event spaces. Then back to the space for more panel conversation and ending at 2pm.

Panelists include:

Mike Abrams, Union Arts
Travis Bowerman, CulturalDC, Flashpoint
Kristina Bilonick, Pleasant Plains Workshop
Michael Janis, Washington Glass School
Lisa Neher, Jackson School
Paul So
, Hamiltonian Artists

Click HERE to get all the details for the event.

All DCax Events will take place at The Menkiti Group offices located at:
3407 8th Street NE
Washington, DC 20017

All events are free and open to the public.

Upcoming Panel Discussions include:
Saturday   /   August 24 (Government Support)

      Saturday   /   September 7 (Private Property) 

DCartistexchange is collaborative project brought to you by Artomatic & partners ReSourceArts, Hamiltonian Artists, Dance Place (Art on 8th), Menkiti Group, CulturalDC, and Nurish. Funded in part by the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Artomatic Workshops are supported in part by Art on 8th, a project of Dance Place supported by the National Endowment for the Arts “Our Town” Program in partnership with the DC commission on the Arts and Humanities. Art on 8th is a collaborative project between Dance Place, CulturalDC and Abdo Development/The Bozzuto Group/Monroe Street Market.

New DC Public Art Project Announced!

Glass archway proposed by Washington Glass Studio for DC’s new Unity Parkside Health Care Center.

The Washington Glass Studio was recently awarded the DC Commission on the Arts& Humanities’ Public Art commission for an outdoor sculpture located at DC’s new Unity Parkside Health Care center, now under construction. The new health center is located just down the road from the Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, a National Park Service site that boasts some of the most beautiful water lilies and lotus flowers in the months of June and July. 


Architectural rendering of the finished Unity Parkside health care center in Ward 7.

The Washington Glass Studio proposed making a 16 foot high arch of colorful glass and images of healing. 

Inspired by the comments from the community meeting and site review– our objective was to create a sense of place for DC’s Kenilworth – Parkside community.

The design and documentation of the artwork was to be outlined in detail in the presentation.
The site in early May, 2013. The mound of dirt is the artwork location.

The fabrication work for both the glass and the steel framework will soon start. Completion is targeted for early 2014.

Audrey Wilson works on constructing the half-scale maquette created for the presentation to the Council.

Washington Glass Studio sends a big thank-you to the DC Creates! Public Art Program selection committee, the DCCAH Council, Unity Parkside Health Care, and the Ward 7 community!

US/UK International Glass + Clay

>Opening March 1, 2013, Washington, DC will host to an international exhibit of glass and clay artwork – the third collaborative exhibitions between Washington, DC artists and artists from the Sister City, of Sunderland, England. A number of the UK artists will come to the opening and will be holding demonstrations – more to come in later posts as the dates are finalized.

The Brits are sure to be posh, shown here in front of the Sunderland glass studios.

The UK will be represented by artists Stephen Beardsell, Cris Chaney, Andrew Livingstone, James Maskrey, Inge Panneels, Megan Randall, Colin Rennie, Jeffrey Sarmiento, Midori Shinmura, Brian Thompson, Robyn Townsend, Margareth Troli, Roger Tye, Cate Watkinson, Philippa Whiteside, and Phil Vickery.

For the Americans, expect plenty of action and Tribbles.

The USA will be represented by artists Margaret Boozer, Nancy Donnelly, David D’Orio, Sean Hennessey, Jeff Herrity, Joe Hicks, Michael Janis, Ani Kasten, Tamara Laird, Laurel Lukaszewski, Syl Mathis, Allegra Marquart, Tim Tate, Erwin Timmers, Novie Trump, Elizabeth Vorlicek and Audrey Wilson. 

It will be an interesting exercise to see if there are cultural differences visible in the works as they are exhibited side by side in Pepco’s Edison Gallery. I’ve noticed that a number of the UK Studio Glass artists works involve components that were created with the waterjet cutter that is at National Glass Centre at the University of Sunderland. Expat Jeffrey Sarmiento, one of the UK artists, gave a quick demo of their waterjet during our Fulbright Fellowship assignment in Sunderland this past March. Click HERE to jump to that post. The integration of digital technologies is transforming glassworking methodology as well the visual language of the artworks by overlapping the realms of applied art, design and craft. We will begin posting some “teaser” images of artwork – from both sides of the pond – in upcoming blogposts. The crates of artwork from the UK have been shipped and are on the way to Washington. Below is an image of the Sunderland artists as they packed. Customs has been notified.

Robyn Townsend will be one of the exhibiting UK glass artists that will be here in DC for the show opening. Hopefully, for Robin’s sake, airholes were in the crate cover.

“International Glass and Clay 2013.” Artomatic presents this international glass and clay exhibition, featuring work from DC area artists, as well as artists from Sunderland, England. At Pepco Edison Place Gallery, 702 Eighth Street (between G and H Street), March 1 through March 22, 2013.

DC Artists: DCCAH Announces 2013 Grant Programs

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The DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities offers several funding programs for individuals and nonprofit organizations located in the District of Columbia. Individuals are not required to provide matching funds. Organizations are only required to provide matching funds as indicated

Commission staff conducts general workshops where participants learn useful information about the Commission and the steps to take to submit a grant application. At these workshops, staff and applicants discuss each grant-making opportunity. Workshop dates, times and locations are subject to change.

For more info – click HERE to jump to the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities online Grants page.

New DC Commision on the Arts & Humanities Exec Director

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The D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities has named a new executive director – Lionell Thomas.

Lionell Thomas at Prince Georges County event “Poetry Between the Lines”.

Thomas, who most recently served as Executive Director for the Prince George’s Arts and Humanities Council, replaces outgoing Interim Director, Ayris Scales.

“As Chair of the Commission on the Arts and Humanities, I am thrilled to welcome Lionell Thomas as our new Executive Director,” said Judith Terra, Chair of the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. “He brings great knowledge of the city and the Commission. He brings great vision for the future of the city, as well as dignity and presence to the office. With his leadership, Washington will be a world-class cultural city.”

Prior to his position with Prince George’s County, Mr. Thomas served with the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities for 22 years in several capacities, eventually serving as the Deputy Director and Interim Director.

“I am delighted to be returning home to the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, ” said Lionell Thomas. “I am looking forward to working together with Mayor Gray’s administration and the community to expand and cultivate the creative energy of our great city on behalf of the residents and visitors to Washington, DC.”

Mr. Thomas received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pittsburgh. A native of Washington, D.C., Mr. Thomas has received various accolades locally and nationally for his creative approaches to arts management and programming. He has also served on a number of state grants panels as a reviewer and site evaluator.

Of all his accomplishments, Mr. Thomas is most proud of the initiatives developed to bring arts programs to underserved communities; many of which remain staples of the District of Columbia’s arts community today.

DC Artist Fellowship Exhibition at Smith Farm Gallery

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The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities held the opening of their exhibition of visual artists that are competing for the 2011 DCCAH Artist Fellowship at Smith Farm’s Joan Hisaoka Gallery on Friday, Sept 13, 2010. Here are some shots of the gallery and the range of the artwork.


Artist Nancy Donnelly next to her flying glass birds “Trio”.


Visitor contemplates Sean Hennessey‘s cast glass and concrete “The Measure of Value”.


Top Left: Pat Goslee‘s “Pearling”; Below Left: Rania Hassan‘s mixed media “Ktog 29 (Knit Together)”; Right: Scott Brooks‘ “Patience”.

Top Left: Elaine Langerman‘s “Poem/Painting #1″; Below left: Tim Tate‘s glass and electronic “Safe In My Nest”; Right: Michael Janis‘ “Altered Memories”.

Left: Sondra Arkin‘s “Edge of Spring”; Center Top: Alec Simpson’s “Postcard From Berlin”; Below Center: Kate Macdonnell‘s “Median”; Right: Rex Weil’s “Hotland Vista #3″.

Les than one third of the artists will be selected to receive the fellowship – the selection committee has their work cut out for them! The exhibition runs thru August 25.

The Joan Hisaoka Gallery
at Smith Farm Center
1632 U Street, NW, Washington DC, 20009
August 13 – 25, 2010

DC Commission On The Arts & Humanities AFP Exhibition

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The DCCAH announces the 2011 Artist Fellowship Program (AFP) exhibition, opening this coming Friday. The DC Commission AFP offers grants to individual artists who make a significant contribution to the arts and who strive to promote the arts in the District of Columbia. This year’s show is held at the Smith Farm Gallery on U Street. Interestingly, about a half dozen of the artists in the fellowship show are included in Lenny Campello‘s book on Washington DC artists – the book that has created a bit of controversy regarding the press coverage that has surrounded the yet-to-be-published tome.

Exhibition Details:
The
Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery at Smith Farm Center

1632 U St NW

Washington, DC
Opening Night:Friday, August 13, 2010 at 6:00pm
Gallery Hours: Wed. – Friday 11am-5pm, Sat. 11am-3pm
Exhibition Closes: Wednesday, August 25th, 2010, 5pm

For more information, contact Moshe Adams at moshe.adams@dc.gov or (202) 724-5613

Exhibiting Artists include: Adam Davies, Alec Simpson, Alexandra Silverthorne, Andrew Wodzianski, Anna U. Davis, Beatrice Delmonte, Bernard Smith, Bruce McKaig, Colin Winterbottom, Cory Oberndorfer, Dana Jeri Maier, Daniel Brooking, Donald Benjamin, Elaine Langerman, Elizabeth Wyrsch, Gediyon Kifle, James Brown Jr., James L. Hicks II, Jason Haber, Jenna Buckingham, Jenny Walton, Joanne S. Kent, John James Anderson, Joshua Cogan, Joshua Yospyn, Judy A. Southerland, Katharine MacDonnell, Kenneth George, Lely Constantinople, Leslie Talusan, Anne Marchand, Marta Perez Garcia, Michael Dax Iacovone, Michael Janis, Nancy Donnelly, Nicole Aguirre, Patricia C. Goslee, Patricia Tobacco Forrester, Patrick Michael Beldio, Peter Dueker, Rachel Beamer, Rania Salah Hassan, Rex Weil, Rik Freeman, Roderick Turner, Scott G. Brooks, Sean Hennessey, Sheila Crider, Sondra N. Arkin, Terrance E. Biddle, Tim Tate

The Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery at Smith Farm Center
1632 U St NW, Washington DC, 20009

www.smithfarm.com/gallery