Ascension - CODAworx


Client: Soho Art

Location: Washington D.C., DC, United States

Completion date: 2023

Artwork budget: $50,000

Project Team


Crystal Crowley

Soho Art


Shayna Gutridge

Soho Art


Ascension is large scale metal public art sculpture commissioned for the reception area of the new Hotel Royale Sonesta in Washington D.C.

While thinking about forces of change, my initial idea for this public art installation started with the handiwork of women as a way to celebrate the skill and ingenuity of such craft. Eventually this led me to the collars worn by Ruth Bader Ginsberg, an American lawyer and jurist who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1993 until her death in 2020.

To create this installation, I constructed forms out of metal based on the geometric pattern of one of those collars. Ginsberg was known to wear her collars as battle armor while also representing feminine energy and a bold sense of style in a field dominated by men. The gold color represents the only color used by all US suffrage organizations, and described by the National Woman’s Party in the United States as being the color of light and life.


Location and theme were integral to this project. As a hotel feature the commission needed to address "forces of change" concept and relevance to location in Capital Hill. Physically the work needed to fill the wall behind the reception area.


Upon researching and exploring ideas relating to the theme of "forces of change", process started with research to determine the final pattern, material, budget and scale, made up of modular parts that can be arranged in different configurations.

My main design concept is based on a lace collar worn by Ruth Bader Ginsberg. She was known to wear her collars as battle armor, meant symbolically to protect her, and by extension, the marginalized groups women, minorities, immigrants, the queer, and disabled whose rights s he championed for over six decades. The pattern that I used in the mockup is based on a section of one of her collars. There was an exhibition at the Bard Graduate Center that explores European lace. I referred to a fantastic New York Times review by Roberta Smith on the exhibition. She writes:" When women are shut out of art, they invent other genres. Take lace!"

Regarding material, I liked the idea of using brass sheet metal or gold powder coated aluminum because of its warm gold tones. In addition to being warm, the color also has symbolic references. Originally it was the only color used by all the US suffrage organizations.