Client: Art in Public Places Program, City of Fort Worth, Texas
Location: Fort Worth, TX, United States
Completion date: 2021
Artwork budget: $76,000
Martha Peters and Anne Allen
Public Art, City of Fort Worth TX
Knowledge of Flora & Fauna of Praries
Suzanne Tuttle and Michelle Villafranca
The Nature Center, Fort Worth TX
Knowledge of Site, City Requirements, Advice
Clint Wyatt and Bryan Lyness
Parks Dept, City of Fort Worth TX
Knowledge of Plants, Allowed me to draw-paint from Herbarium plants
Peter Fritsch, Ph.D. and Tiana Rehman
Botanical Research Institute, Fort Worth TX
Desires of the Public, attended workshop, continued to offer information
Citizens of Fort Worth
Fabrication of Steel Porcelain Enamel
Artist/Designer and Fabrication of Steel Frame
Art + Knowledge honors the prairie. The art screens, sited in relationship to various ecosystems, educate the viewer of the flora and fauna existing in the park’s natural environment. The twenty-nine, unique, ink and watercolor paintings created by the artist were used to fabricate the porcelain enamel discs.
Chisholm Trail Community Park pays homage to the complex environment of Fort Worth. By respecting the ancestry of the land, as in this rare natural park, the earth can continue to support the delicate balance of dependency between flora and fauna, as well as humans.
Steel, porcelain enamel over steel, paint. 29 Ink-watercolor drawings by the artist were used to create the steel porcelain enamel discs.
Art + Knowledge: Pond: 66 x 84 x 2 inches
Art + Knowledge: Flora & Fauna: 74 x 84 x 2 inches
The prairie images were developed in conversation with the Nature Center, Suzanne Tuttle, former Director, and Michelle Villafranca, Natural Resource Specialist, City of Fort Worth Parks Department, Tom Alves, PLA, AICP, and Bryan Lyness, RLA, CFW, Dunaway, Larry O’Flinn, ASLA, and Botanical Research Institute, Peter W. Fritsh, Ph.D., VP of Research & Director of BRIT Herbarium, Tiana Rehman, Herbarium Collections Manager.
Flora & Fauna alludes to the dependency of flora to fauna, as a metaphor for the relationship of humankind to the environment. The compositional constructs of the art reference the reliance of plants and animals on one another, with two separate structures connected and twined together. The imagery offers a cornucopia of the natural world, reminiscent of Renaissance still life paintings. The steel lines connecting the discs allude to the zig-zag web of the Argiope Spider and a Gunter’s Chain, a surveying device.
The Pond focuses on the unique ecosystem of water dependent plants and animals. The riparian zone acts as a communal gathering place and refuge for area wildlife. The aquatic plants which grow naturally on the pond margin are a variation of the plants in the dryer flatland. Animal tracks document the activity and interaction of daily life. The pond is used for fishing, wildlife viewing, and contemplation. Images are derived from not only the various species of life that exist within the park but also those that migrate. The central larger disc of the Earth’s oceans references the importance of water to sustain life on the planet. Compositionally, plants and animals concentrically bubble outward from the source.
A gathering of citizens, teachers, public officials, art administrators, botanical specialists, wildlife and prairie specialists, and artists converged to discuss a vision for the Summer Creek area. The goals of the workshop were to explore public art opportunities that reflected the indigenous prairie environment and themes that would create a sense of community identity.
The Community working with the City of Fort Worth requested that the public be educated about: the natural environment: the prairie and geology, the history of the people and the land, the community of peoples who live and have lived in this area.
The Nature Center assisted in developing a list of animals and plants existing in and migrating to the park. The Botanical Research Institute clarified species of plants, allowed the artist to draw from their Herbarium collection, and requested that the scientific name be included. Materials, structural and safety aspects, site locations were determined by the Parks Department. The public art project managers initiated the collaborations. The artist researched, drew, painted, requested review of the drawings, altered, and made the art digitally ready. Winsor Fireform transformed the drawings into the porcelain discs. Artist-fabricator designed-welded steel frames.
Results of the project: Native Plant Society of Texas 2021: I was awarded the Mary Jo Laughlin and Eula Whitehouse Memorial Award for visual arts that illustrates, interprets, and promotes Texas native plants, recognition for the public art sculpture in the Fort Worth Chisholm Trail Community Park which focuses on the natural prairie environment. Created for the awards ceremony, a video of Art + Knowledge is available. A third Art + Knowledge: Prairie Screen, designed during the conceptual phase, has been commissioned. Mile Markers for the area were commissioned, approved, and are currently being fabricated. “The Summer Creek Mile Markers reference the conversation between nature and the built environment / the natural prairie and development. The struggle between the two is informed by plants pushing their stems through cracks in the concrete, versus the desire of homeowners to have the perfect British lawn. A delicate balance. Unlike birds which have their own methods of determining distance and place, the Mile Markers are a human construct. Development imposes its aesthetics on the natural world; plants struggle to reclaim their rightful place.” Fine art prints of the drawings are being created by Hare & Hound Press of San Antonio.