"The Defender" is a monumental scale Sandhill Crane in a typical pose of defending its territory against intruders. It was commissioned by the Trust for Public Land and supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. It was installed in the restored nature sanctuary component of Story Mill Community Park in Bozeman, MT. Migratory Sandhill Cranes have begun to nest in this restored nature preserve quite near it. It stands 18’H, 12’W and 11’L. It is fabricated of a skeleton of carbon steel pipe and steel rod and covered with perforated carbon steel sheet.
The Trust for Public Land and the City of Bozeman partnered to create Story Mill Community Park serving the City of Bozeman and the Gallatin Valley of Montana. The Defender enhances the park visitor experience and connection to place, focusing on the myriad values of water as a shared natural and cultural resource throughout the park and surrounding community. In the southern half of the park, a 30-acre nature sanctuary provides a nature-based park experience. A light footprint of trails allows visitors to enjoy the nature sanctuary year-round for walking, bird and wildlife viewing. An award-winning site restoration (completed in 2016) improved wetlands and wildlife habitat, restored stream banks, and reconnected historic floodplains. The nature sanctuary shelters over 125 species of birds including nesting Sandhill Cranes, many mammals from bear to muskrat, and a blue ribbon trout fishery. Park visitors will observe the restored landscape seasonally and over time, seeing firsthand how healthy wetland and floodplain function builds resilience, mitigates flooding and buffers stream and ground water quality.
This collaboration involved me as the artist, The Trust for Public Land, The City of Bozeman, David Olsen, my 3D designer/collaborator, and George Lounsbury, the Professional Engineer who designed the sculpture's footings. the commission evolved out of a call for a public art sculpture, I submitted a proposal and was interviewed, and eventually contracted to fabricate and install The Defender.
Part of the design, which the savy viewer will notice, is that there are interesting moire patterns created by the two layers of perforated metal. These are most easily seen in sections of the wing. These moire patterns change depending on the angle of the viewer to the surfaces.
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