Client: Anthem Community Council
Location: Anthem, Arizona, United States
Completion date: 2011
Artwork budget: $225,000
RPJ Fine Art
Jim Martin, PE
Atkins Int'l Engineering
The AVM honors all American veterans who have ever served the nation. Each marble column represents a branch of military service. They must stand in perfect formation to cast one long shadow. Each has an elliptical hole that for one minute of each year, forms a beam of sunlight which illuminates an inlaid, glass mosaic of the Great Seal of the United States. At 11:11 a.m. on 11-11 (every Veterans Day) this effect will occur every year for all time. Light reflects upward from the mosaic into the heavens like a spotlight. The experience is breathtaking to witness in person.
This project was commissioned by the city of Anthem Arizona and I was asked to design my first memorial. I was a local artist (2-D only) so I embraced the challenge to design a public structure purely from an artistic standpoint. I strove to create something that would cause an event each Veterans Day that would draw people to the site to pay their respects to American Veterans. I recognized that the only way to make one day more 'special' than another day was to utilize the sun's azimuth to create an attraction. The declination of the sun is unique every day in any given location so this was my inspiration. Having traveled around the world and seen many religious sites, I was inspired to create something that would have a lasting effect on generations to come. There would be no question as to the meaning of this memorial or how important American Veterans are to the citizens of Anthem Arizona.
The AVM was a hugely collaborative project involving Jim Martin, PE, engineer, Admiral (Ret.) Ron Tucker Project leader, Steve Rusch, draftsman and model builder, Elizabeth Turner, Public Relations and fundraiser, Joe Stevens, Harold Doede and Steve Seivert and many others from Haydon Building Corp,, Neal Shearer from the Anthem Community Council, and several other key community figures. It was an honor to work with and learn from so many professionals in the field.
This project has won several awards to date: Arizona Historic Landmark Designation 2012 – Arizona Historical Society Arizona Public Works Project of the Year Award 2012 – Arizona Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA) ACEC 2012 Grand Award – Best Engineering and Environmental Consulting Project – American Consulting Engineers Companies. Additionally, it continues to garner intense public attention on social media sites every Veterans Day and in 2014, trended in the top 10 news stories of the day with over 25 million "hits" around the world.