South Dakota Avenue, 26th and Irving Streets, NE
Dear Mr. Espinoza:
In its meeting of 19 April, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the proposal for a public art installation on Reservation 313A, a triangular park bounded by South Dakota Avenue and 26th and Irving Streets, NE. The Commission approved the concept for the sculpture by artist Wilfredo Valladares and delegated to the staff the final review of the project submission, to include detailed documentation for the sculpture’s fabrication.
The Commission members commended the dynamic appearance of the sculpture, which they recognized is the outcome of a process of engagement with the Woodridge neighborhood; they predicted that the brightly colored art would be much beloved by the community. However, they expressed concerns about the differences between the artist’s design intent as shown in the maquette and the construction of the sculpture as shown in engineering details. Anticipating that the fabrication process may not yield the same dynamic design, they requested more accurate documentation of the appearance of the stems, leaves, and stained-glass inserts and their proposed dimensions, shapes, and connections. Given the sculpture’s overall height of fourteen feet, they noted that the undersides of the metal plates forming the leaves will be visually prominent, and they asked for further information on the intended appearance of these surfaces.
In addition, the Commission members requested further consideration of the sculpture’s siting within the park landscape, and they endorsed a round base for the sculpture within the triangular site. Observing that the bright color palette of the sculpture recalls playground equipment, they cautioned that the installation will likely invite climbing; they recommended some softening of the color palette to be more compatible with the landscape setting throughout the seasons of the year, particularly in winter when the visual context is more subtle. They also questioned how the sculpture would respond to climatic conditions, such as winds and temperature changes, that may create movement and noise.
In conclusion, the Commission expressed its enthusiasm for the project as an attractive addition to the community, one that could inspire similar transformations of the city’s many triangular reservations. The documentation of the fabrication process should include the mockup of one leaf and its stem, as well as representations of similar work by the sculptor. Please coordinate the next submission with the staff for its delegated review.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Arthur Espinoza, Jr., Executive Director
D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities
200 I Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003
cc: Wilfredo Valladares