DC’s MLK Jr Library Features Washington Glass Studio on Public Art

View of Green Community Gateway by Washington Glass Studio

The District of Columbia Public Library (DCPL) is a dynamic source of information, programs, books and services, among them is their Makers Program, that includes a Fabrication Lab. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library’s “Fab Lab”, complete with 3D printers, a laser cutter, soldering equipment, other machines is part of a new movement of public libraries embracing the “maker movement.” DCPL’s maker program is the largest of its kind in a public library, as they see the program as a force to bring together makers, artists, and creative people of all types and from all fields and backgrounds, encouraging cross-disciplinary cooperation. As part of the public engagement, the DCPL Makers & DIY Program is hosting a series of artists lectures at the newly refurbished MLK Memorial Library auditorium.

Image of Community workshop at Washington Glass School.

On Saturday, May 21, 2022, from 1:00pm – 2:00pm, Michael Janis, co-director of the Washington Glass School, will give a lecture on how the Washington Glass Studio created the “Green Community Gateway” with art made with the help of the community in Ward 7.

The “Green Community Gateway”, public art sculpture marks the symbolic entrance to the Kenilworth/Parkside section of DC’s Ward 7. Through a series of glass “quilting bees”, Washington Glass Studio brought together neighborhood residents, students of the high school, and the staff of the newly constructed Unity Healthcare facility to make glass art that would become an integral part of the arch.

This lecture program will take place in the auditorium at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, 901 G St. NW, Washington, DC 20001. Register at bit.ly/labsclasses

The renovated Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, DC, originally designed by Mies van der Rohe, the landmark library was rejuvenated by Mecanoo and OTJ Architects.

Public Art: Rockville Town Center “Compositions In Light”

“Compositions In Light” public artwork sculpture at Maryland’s Town Center Phase 2.

Washington Glass Studio was commissioned to make a new, two-part public art sculpture installation for the new mixed use residential development, Ansel, in Rockville, MD. Working with the project’s art consultant Artists Circle Fine Arts, the outlined goals were to enhance the location and the urban environment, as well as creating welcoming and colorful place markers that enlivens Rockville Town Center. The client – Duball, LLC – asked that the street placemaking artwork allow for a sense of fun and discovery.

The site – Ansel, 33 Monroe Street, Rockville, MD

The development was named “Ansel”, as spiritual nod to incredible American photographer Ansel Adams. Adams was considered a master of his craft and his experimentation with light gradations, degrees of exposure, and new techniques. Best known for his dramatic photographs of the American West, Adams achieved a popularity that few other photographers have known. Dedicated to wilderness preservation, he succeeded in changing the way Americans perceived their natural environment.

Creating a strong visual element for the streetscape – while maintaining clear pedestrian circulation – Washington Glass Studio focused on creating an internally illuminated vertical tower – approx 11′ high.

Named “Compositions In Light”, the sculpture is made of cast glass and powdercoated metal. The inset glass panels in the artwork incorporates artistic references to renowned photographer Ansel Adams – with artistic takes on his photos of still lifes, architecture, and landscapes; his love of nature, and sculptural interpretations of Adams main instrument – cameras.

The powder coated metal structure is arranged in triangular format to reference the classic photographers camera tripod. The shape also gives greater strength both structurally and in profile. The vertical structure supports the LED lighting and allows an even light to the glass wall panel opposite. The glass panels are inset into a removable grid section that is bolted to the structural frame. Each cast glass panel is set into silicone within metal angle surrounds. The metal base has a removable section to allow access to electrical source to tower.

Dimensional inset panels made of handmade cast glass presents tactile images of nature and objects that refer to Ansel Adams work and career. The varied nature of the artwork mounted in separate panels would invite investigation and exploration.

Shay Summers coldworks one of the artwork inset panels.

The gorgeous, illuminated tower is made up of colorful, tactile cast glass that defines each corner of the site. The inset glass panels are varied, but color coordinated with accent color panels to give a vibrancy to the design. The tapering form leads viewers eyes upward to a unique finial endcap, a cast sculpture that makes a fun, witty and distinctive statement. Dimensional inset panels made of handmade cast glass presents tactile images of nature and objects that refer to Ansel Adams work and career. The varied nature of the artwork mounted in separate panels would invite investigation and exploration.

Sparkling in the daytime and backlit with energy efficient LED, the glass artwork in “Compositions in Light” will always be a visible presence on the street. The metalwork and thickness of each glass panel make the artwork strong for a streetscape environment. In the history of American conservation, few have worked as long and as effectively to preserve wilderness and to articulate the “wilderness idea” as Ansel Adams. He spent decades in the battle to protect the environment. Helping reinforce the background of Ansel Adams as an environmental activist are the color directions for the artwork. Blues and greens are the colors most associated with nature and the environment.

The interplay of sculpture, the colors & quality of cast glass and the prominent location makes this an integrated urban design that brings focus to the site. The freestanding nature of the installed artwork encourages visitors and residents to walk around the artwork and experience a dynamic sense of place. A sense of playful fun caps each sculpture and helps define the paired artworks. United by form, colorful towers reinforce their connection to the artwork of Ansel Adams with finials inspired by the master photographer’s artwork.

“Compositions In Light”

Project Address: 33 Monroe St, Rockville, MD 20850

Client: Duball, LLC

Maryland’s Rockville Town Center Phase II includes 400 apartment units; 250 market-rate luxury apartments and 150 senior affordable apartments to be owned and managed by the Housing Opportunities Commission.

Artwork Project Team: Erwin Timmers, Christina Helowicz, Tim Tate, Michael Janis, Shay Summers

Art Consultant: Artists Circle Fine Arts

John Henderson Creates Baltimore Public Art Sculpture

John Henderson; Peoples’ Community Lutheran Church. Dimensions: 8ft x 18”, Glass/cast glass and cloth on wood panels.
Title: God Is Great

John Henderson, glass artist sculptor (and a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Pimlico) recently created, designed, and installed an outdoor art sculpture for People’s Community Lutheran Church of Baltimore.

John Henderson; “God is Great”; Glass/cast glass and cloth on wood panels.

The sculpture represents all of the African Descent congregations’ connectiveness, in the DEMD Synod.

John Henderson; “God Is Great” detail.

The artwork, titled “God is Great” consists of kilnfused glass Adinkra symbols, layered on Kente fabric and dimensional cast glass panels measuring 16″x16″. The symbol called “Gye Nyame” represents the supremacy of God.

Bishop Gohl, of the Delaware-Maryland Synod, ELCA enthused about the newest public art sculpture.

Congratulations to John and the Peoples’ Community Lutheran Church!

The Process: Public Art – “Essential Connections” in Arlington, VA

“Essential Connections” by Washington Glass Studio, 18’L x 4’H, cast glass, LED. 2021

The Process: Public Art – “Essential Connections”
Washington Glass Studio (WGS) –J-Sol Apartment Complex, 4000 Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA

Daytime view of “Essential Connections” sculpture in Arlington, VA.

Jefferson Apartment Group with Mitsui Fudosan America developed the Arlington, VA corner site formerly home to the sports bar CarPool into a 22-story, LEED Gold-certified high-rise called J-Sol, with residential units atop ground-floor retail and parking. Working with Toronto, Canada art consultant Oni-One Sourcing owner Paula Fleck, the preliminary designs were initiated in April of 2019, well before the pandemic lockdowns. Different concepts for both design and location of artwork to enhance the new J-Sol residential development were presented to the client.

Original concept sketch
Erwin Timmers and Michael Janis review the structural steel.


Framing the corner location of the new plaza at Fairfax Drive and North Quincy St. in Arlington, VA, the sculpture is made of almost 100 individual hand cast glass panels set into a bold geometric framework of acute angles that references the sculptural qualities of the new J-Sol building. The sculpture defines the location and creates a new sense of place with the layering of color, light and shadow. Merging architecture and design with their signature material, glass, the overall presentation of the sculpture is aimed to reflect our modern society and urban space.

Meticulously fitting glass into framework.

The varieties of techniques and layers of colors provide complex visual experiences is part of the works’ aesthetic pleasure.

Public art detail
An exploration of color, texture and pattern overlay.

The inspiration for the Arlington public artwork, “Essential Connections” is how much our world has changed. The artwork draws inspiration from our attempt to find new and innovative ways to reach out and connect with each other.

Night view of “Essential Connections” sculpture by Washington Glass Studio.

As WGS Co-Director Tim Tate noted of the work: “…Our goal was to create something memorable out of daily patterns of coming and going home.” The rainbow mix of colors – each a strength unto itself – is much more powerful in combined with others. The color palette itself references nature in its yellows, blues and greens, the sun, the water and sky, the grass and trees. Stylized elements of nature will be incorporated into several the crafted glass panels – emphasizing our renewed awareness of our environment.

The colors and patterns define this public space in Arlington, VA.

The artwork’s dynamic shape forms a translucent cornerstone of sorts – inviting all into the plaza for walking, sitting, and all manner of activities conducted in the park. The new artwork help create a place for people to enjoy, feel connected and remember. Using the timeless fundamentals of light and color to define the space we made a vibrant backdrop to define the area with exuberance and life.

The public response has been immediate – during installation many passerbys came up excitedly to the sculpture – wanting to take “selfie shots” at Arlington’s newest landmark.

The artworks’ youngest fan points out their favorite glass panel inset.
DC art enthusiast Anthony Adero strikes a casual pose at the new sculpture.

Project Details:

Location: 4000 Fairfax Dr, Arlington, VA 22203 (N Quincy St & Fairfax Dr)
Washington Glass Studio Public Art Team: Michael Janis, Tim Tate, Erwin Timmers, Christina Helowicz.

Erwin Timmers and Christina Helowicz the sculpture’s internal LED lighting.

Structural Steel: Criss Brothers
Number of Glass Tile Insets: 97

WGS installation team L-R: Michael Janis, Ryan Henderson, Christina Helowicz, Erwin Timmers

John Henderson Creates Baltimore Public Art

John Henderson’s sculpture being installed at the park site.

This summer, WGS Studio artist John Henderson has been working with emerging young artists from Baltimore, MD to create new public art sculptures and murals. Baltimore’s “Arts On The Avenue (AOTA ) Program ” – is a place-based outdoor public arts initiative centered on residential neighborhoods and commercial districts undergoing community transformation. AOTA projects are site specific, with the intent of beautifying outdoor public spaces that promote peoples health, happiness, and well being.

Artist John Henderson presents certificates to each of the community participants.
All those who participated in the AOTA.

In addition to beautification of public spaces, another goal of AOTA is exposing children & youth to the creating process. This creative process or art therapy is more about the process not the outcome. In working with children and youth, this non verbal process in which the activities embodies the person and the expression is projected on the canvas. The end result is a finished mural. There can be discussions around what was created or not or a contemporary theme, such as “What is Family to You”, the therapy works to release emotions from deep within. We believe that this method of inserting young people to the visual arts has proven to be an effective efficient way of handling and overwhelmed PTSD, while at the same time creating a healthier community and improving the quality of life for the participants and residents in the community.

The community celebrates the completed works of art!
Baltimore City youth participating in a AOTA mural project

The Arts on the Avenue (AOTA) Program places culturally relevant artworks, created by local artist, along major vehicular corridors and identifiable gateways into a community. AOTA’s purpose is to stimulate revitalization efforts, in priority investment areas that align with local government neighborhood development strategies, attract new investments into communities, build strong connections with community stakeholders, and improve the quality of life for the residents through its ability to ignite the imagination, encourage thought and to prompt discourse.

Detail of the mural shows a bold, fun mix of colors.

Demystifying Public Art – Online presentation by the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass

Artists Erwin Timmers & Michael Janis will present an online ‘zoom’ presentation that will be part of the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass (AACG) Online Education in Art Series – “Demystifying Public Art.”

aacg.public.art.wgs.studio.glass.sculpture.education.arts.community.involvement.michael.janis.erwin.timmers.contemporary.public

Public art created by artists of the Washington Glass Studio both enrich and celebrate diverse communities. Successful projects include – The Monumental Doors for the Library of Congress, Laurel Library, the Washington DC Gateway Arch, and the West Palm Beach International Airport.
Michael Janis and Erwin Timmers will discuss how they navigate the complex processes from finding the projects to their ultimate creation and installation.

On Tuesday, September 15, at 2 p.m. Eastern time, AACG starts their Online Education Series called “FIRED UP” – click on the link to register for the free event:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYucemupz4jE9xI6GbpH6qoSHz7-iWuztOT?fbclid=IwAR0A-NoKAxTtkf6k12vBHvukn8IlUFRaY5uTfj97pj5yBBaA3-bsCO0abDc

The Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to further the development and appreciation of art made from glass.

The Alliance informs collectors, critics and curators by encouraging and supporting museum exhibitions, university glass departments and specialized teaching programs, regional collector groups, visits to private collections, and public seminars.

The Process: Public Art 900 Thayer in Silver Spring, MD – “Social Fabric”

Public art can strengthen social bonds, especially for culturally diverse neighborhoods.

Corner installation of "Social Fabric" public art at Fenton Apartments in Silver Spring, MD.

Corner installation of “Social Fabric” public art at Fenton Apartments in Silver Spring, MD.

Washington Glass Studio recently completed a public art project in Silver Spring, MD, for a new mixed use development at 900 Thayer Ave

The original 2005 design concept - cast glass panels helped define the architectural entrance to the development.

The original 2005 design concept – cast glass panels helped define the architectural entrance to the “Adele” development.

Washington Glass Studio began creating artwork options for developments on the site, starting in 2005, when the site first was being developed as a residential development called “The Adele”. After a review and approval by Montgomery County Arts Council, the project languished as the real estate market changed.

In 2013, WGS Studio began working with the developers that purchased that project site, Redbrick LMD. Working with the design team, WGS artists were inspired by the rich mixture of ethnic groups in Silver Spring. Imagery and patterns that were based on the cultural fabric and textiles, as well as indigenous weaving and embroidery patterns for tapestries, wraps, blankets and garments.

Fabrics & textiles of the cultures that make up the Silver Spring neighborhoods was the inspiration of the new artwork design for 900 Thayer.

Fabrics & textiles of the cultures that make up the Silver Spring neighborhoods was the inspiration of the new artwork design for 900 Thayer.

 

Artwork on the corner column made up of backlit glass panels would be a colorful reference to the cultures, and add a bright pop of color on the site.

The corner location of the artwork would also frame out the proposed future planned arts development that would be up the road from 900 Thayer, and the Montgomery County Review committee was keen on having the artwork go further – asking if the artwork could be extended all along the ground level of the new development. Happily, Redbrick Developers agreed, and the scope of the artwork was extended along the entire street level and apartment outdoor spaces.

The corner column at 900 Thayer was to have an 11 foot high tower of backlit panels mounted to the surfaces.

The corner column at 900 Thayer was to have an 11 foot high tower of backlit panels mounted to the surfaces.

The project stalled in 2015. In 2017, Chesapeake Realty Partners joined with Redbrick Developer and the Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County in moving forward with the property  proceeded with groundbreaking and construction of the development in June of 2018.

WGS Studio was contacted and engaged to fully develop the design. WGS revisited the idea of incorporating cultural textile and fabric patterns would encourage viewers to appreciate the colorful patterns enlivening the streetscape, as well as promoting a message of open-mindedness, promote tolerance and curiosity about other cultures.

The brightly colored hand-screened glass features patterns were artistically based on Ethiopian textiles, African mudcoths, Central American weavings, European folkloric fabric prints, intricate and colorful ancestral weaving designs from Asia, Native American blankets, and Colonial American quilt patterns. Using identity and culture as the main theme of the building’s public artwork, WGS sought to inspire self-reflection, human connection, and conversation.

Teri Bailey and Patricia De Poel Wilberg work on silkscreening the enamel patterns on glass, to be fired in the kilns after.

Teri Bailey and Patricia De Poel Wilberg work on silkscreening the enamel patterns on glass, to be fired in the kilns after.

The Washington Glass Studio team worked on the production of the glass artwork starting in early 2019. Large silkscreen panels were made to allow the patterns to be enameled and fired in the WGS kilns. WGS Co-Director Erwin Timmers worked on the LED design and integration of the glass artwork.

The enameled glass was fired to keep the high contrast color selections vibrant.

The enameled glass was fired to keep the high contrast color selections vibrant.

Over 60 18″ x 18″ panels were made – and were to be mounted in a variety of multi-panel arrangements.

The installation on site began in October of 2019, and as the building occupancy needed the artwork to be completed to allow for certification, a focused WGS team made short work of the outdoor artwork installation. 

Detail of one of the LED illuminated glass panels at 900 Thayer Ave.

Detail of one of the LED illuminated glass panels at 900 Thayer Ave.

WGS Co-Director Michael Janis is a vision in orange as he preps the LED mounts for the glass.

WGS Co-Director Michael Janis is a vision in orange as he preps the LED mounts for the glass.

WGS Co-Director Erwin Timmers sets the final glass artwork panels in the corner column at the 900 Thayer site.

WGS Co-Director Erwin Timmers sets the final glass artwork panels in the corner column at the 900 Thayer site.

The Fenton Apartment corner column artwork has a strong presence in the daytime, with the LED illumination.

The Fenton Apartment corner column artwork has a strong presence in the daytime, with the LED illumination.

Project Details
Location: 900 Thayer Avenue, Silver Spring MD, 20910
Washington Glass Studio Public Art Team: Michael Janis, Tim Tate, Erwin Timmers, Teri Bailey and Patricia De Poel Wilberg.

Peppermill Village at Night – The City of Lights!

Peppermill Community Center public art by Washington Glass Studio and the Peppermill/Landover community.

Peppermill Community Center public art by Washington Glass Studio and the Peppermill/Landover community.

Cassi Hayden, the Senior Visual Media Photographer for The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) was at Peppermill Village Community Center covering an event recently and found the artwork (made by Washington Glass Studio) in front to be exceptionally beautiful!

Detail of the internally illuminated glass panels made with the Peppermill community as part of the public artwork.

Detail of the internally illuminated glass panels made with the Peppermill community as part of the public artwork.

Cassi took some shots attached high-res files for your use.  All photos in this posting by: M-NCPPC/Cassi Hayden

The artwork reflects well in the glass of the new center - and on the community that inspired the creation!

The artwork reflects well in the glass of the new center – and on the community that inspired the creation!

Click HERE to see the public art sculpture in the daytime and how the work came to be!

Peppermill Community Center Public Art

Peppermill Community Center

Peppermill Community Center with the internally illuminated artwork “Telling Our Story…” by Washington Glass Studio.

The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) commissioned Washington Glass Studio (WGS) to create a public art sculpture for the new addition to the Peppermill Community Center in Landover, MD.

Shop drawing of sculpture by WGS.

Shop drawing of sculpture by WGS.

Some communities see public art as a way of enhancing or personalizing otherwise impersonal spaces. Others view it as a means to activate civic dialogue or provide a vehicle for the community to express its identity.

These landmarks and special events enhance our experience of a place and our quality of life. They engender a sense of pride and community identity. They reach audiences outside museums, galleries, and theaters, and they add to the beauty of everyday life. They declare the worth of a place and a time in our shared culture.

Erwin Timmers leads a community glass making workshop at the Washington Glass School.

Erwin Timmers leads a community glass making workshop at the Washington Glass School.

As such, the design of the site-specific sculpture by WGS was centered on finding ways to get the community excited and engaged with the convergence of art, history and community. The proposal for the art was based on a 15’H tower of glass and steel that would be internally illuminated with over 100 glass inset panels. The artwork of the insets were to be created by involving the community via a series of glass-making workshops held at the Washington Glass School

A great cross section of community came out to be part of the creation of the new public art for Peppermill Community Center.

A great cross section of community came out to be part of the creation of the new public art for Peppermill Community Center.

The residents and stakeholders were tasked with showing what they felt important to them and what inspired them were made. Images of family, nature, the environment, their neighborhoods, their sports teams were rendered in glass.

All sorts of imagery and glass techniques were employed to great effect.

All sorts of imagery and glass techniques were employed to great effect.

Cast glass images of the social groups – the sewing groups, the cheer squads, the state flag – even a Maryland blue crab were crafted. Historical references to the nearby horse farms and the old roller rink were included in the mix of glass panels. Part of the fun of the artwork is seeing how this mix of images and references all somehow work together.

The tower, titled :"Telling Our Story..." adds a powerfull and dramitic artistic element at the new entry at the community center.

The tower, titled :”Telling Our Story…” adds a powerful and dramatic artistic element at the new entry at the community center.

Shaping places—with landmarks and landscapes, events and ideologies—sets the stage for a critical part of our existence: our connection with our environment; with our past, present, and future; and with other human beings.

The mix of images and stories told create a compelling and inclusive mixture - each distinctive and unique - yet cohesive as a whole.

The mix of images and stories told create a compelling and inclusive mixture – each distinctive and unique – yet cohesive as a whole.

“Telling Our Story…”
Artist: Washington Glass Studio
Project Team: Teri Bailey, Michael Janis, Erwin Timmers, Tim Tate and Lee Kind.
Media: Cast and fused glass, steel, LED lighting, concrete.
Location: Peppermill Community Center, 610 Hill Rd, Landover, MD 20785
Client: The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission

WGS Artist John Henderson Creates Baltimore Public Art

WGS Resident Artist, John Henderson, has been creating artwork that enriches the Baltimore area.

WGS Resident Artist, John Henderson, has been creating artwork that enriches the Baltimore area.

Holy Nativity/St. John’s Development Corporation received a competitive Neighborhood Initiative Competitive Grant from Baltimore City to install outdoor sculptures along Park Heights Avenue, in Baltimore City.

John Henderson has been creating public art as part of a beautification initiative targeting vacant lots and communities undergoing redevelopment.

John Henderson has been creating public art as part of a beautification initiative targeting vacant lots and communities undergoing redevelopment.

The Project “Arts on the Avenue” is a place-based public art beautification initiative targeting vacant lots and communities undergoing redevelopment.  Artists will design and paint Ndebele design motifs on transparent panels that will be inserted into a steel frame.  Ndebele design originates from South Africa and is still practiced today. The Ndebele technique is primarily geometric using vibrant colors and symbols.

Each sculptural steel frame will contain a solar device that will provide illumination at sunset.

Each sculptural steel frame will contain a solar device that will provide illumination at sunset.

 

John Henderson

John Henderson

John Henderson, a studio artist at the WGS and resident of Maryland, is leading this project.  John and fellow artist Sean Hennessey recently completed an outdoor obelisk titled “Inspire” through a BOPA/Lots Alive competitive grant from Baltimore City.