Client: Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind
Location: Colorado Springs, CO, United States
Completion date: 2018
Artwork budget: $150,000
Public Art Services
Carol A. Hilty
Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind
The bench, supported by four compression springs, rocks, and sways. It’s possible to rock gently or to go for a ride, much the same way kids enjoy a spring rider in a playground. The dynamics of compression springs and their uneven spacing means the structure responds differently depending on where one sits and how many people are sitting on the bench. The artwork’s sloped canopy includes nine translucent-colored polycarbonate skylights and rocks along with the bench. On sunny days, the canopy’s shadow and color projections on the ground move in sync with the bench.
2021 CODAawards Top 100!
Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind, Colorado Springs
8’4” x 16’ x 16’
Painted & unpainted stainless steel, Koda XT (polycarbonate)
The school requested the artwork be a meeting and gathering place for students and faculty that would be experiential for their deaf, hearing-impaired, blind, and visually-impaired students.
Geller’s process always begins with stakeholder and community engagement which could include learning about the area's history, gaining insight into the community’s vision for the site, and brainstorming about what would enrich and bring together their diverse community.
John Grant (Public Art Services) provided design development and fabrication services for the structure and installation. Nick Geurts (Yetiweurks) provided design and structural engineering services.
The landscaping plans for the school were modified as per the artist's site plan.
In his public art practice, Matthew Geller’s participatory sculptures become one of the building blocks that make a space a destination. As such, the work activates the site and promotes interaction among visitors, often creating intimate moments in a singularly public space. Part of his work’s success is that it is physically experiential: viewers understand that there is a place for themselves in it. His sculptures enable moments of respite and delight, befitting the site's functional and visual context. He purposefully uses materials from the everyday environment creating a level of connection to the familiar while highlighting elements of awe and beguilement. The idea is to surprise while fostering the sense of an inclusive community around an unlikely object or location, creating a micro public square or landmark. By considering behavioral design and incorporating dynamic elements activated by people and changes in the weather, the resulting work is in constant flux. Ultimately, the artwork’s goal will be to engender a sense of wonder, enhancing the community and visitor experience.