Buddy Holly Donor Pick Wall

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Client: Lubbock Entertainment and Performing Arts Association (LEPAA)

Location: Lubbock, TX, United States

Completion date: 2020

Artwork budget: $880,000

Project Team

Artist/Fabricator/Installation

Brad Oldham

Brad Oldham Sculpture

Architect/Designer

Matthew Lella

Diamond Schmitt Architects

Garfield Public/Private LLC

Greg Garfield

Developer

Lubbock Entertainment and Performing Arts Association

Tim Collins

Commissioner

Overview

Pioneering American singer/songwriter, Buddy Holly inspired this 130-foot long, 30-foot tall sculptural installation in Lubbock, Texas. Holly produced some of the most distinctive and influential work in rock music. We created a sculpture to honor this beloved music legend that also serves as a donor acknowledgment vehicle. We partnered with community leaders and the facility development team to create the wall-mounted installation comprised of nearly 9,000 guitar picks to produce a tight crop of Buddy Holly playing his Fender Stratocaster guitar.

This pixelated image shows how many small components and negative space work together to create both an intimate interior and a public exterior viewing experience. The design and engineering to center 8,790 picks of 11 different sizes across 98 custom aluminum panels, while keeping the wall level and flush with door returns, required a logistical feat. The rounded, dimensional designs of the guitar picks were first hand sculpted in clay and then each die-cast in aluminum; the pick design added a strong sculptural component to the installation. Detailed planning, quality fabrication, and in-studio pre-installation work enabled the Brad Oldham Sculpture team to install the sculpture on location in 8 days.

Goals

Diamond Schmitt Architects conceived a bold image in the four-story lobby that could be seen through the transparent southern façade accentuating its world-class building design. The Lubbock Entertainment & Performing Arts Association wanted a “grass roots” donor recognition system that would excite donors to contribute to the organization at an affordable naming rights price point. Developer Garfield Public/Private wanted a fine-art installation that elevated the building lobby while establishing a placemaking destination in and of itself. Buddy Holly’s surviving family wanted his contribution to music to be celebrated. Garfield introduced the team to sculptor Brad Oldham to take the initial concept to the next level. Oldham’s design, engineering, fabrication, and installation of the artwork honors the spirit of Lubbock’s most famous son while providing the community with an engaging interior and exterior viewing experience. Community members and donors enjoy locating their names and viewing the wall-mounted sculpture within the expansive lobby. When the jewel-box lobby is lit up at night, the sculpture stands out even more, attracting community attention.

Process

Each step in the planning and execution of the Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences facility was thoughtfully focused on supporting performing arts through the honoring of a rock-and-roll legend whose career was cut too short by his untimely death. The community of Lubbock, the residents of Texas, and music fans around the globe had eyes on the overall project, and the commission of the placemaking sculpture was also of great consideration. To that end, it is important to recognize the full team on the Buddy Holly Hall Donor Pick Wall Sculpture:

Commissioned by: Lubbock Entertainment and Performing Arts Association (LEPAA)
Developer: Garfield Public/Private LLC
Design: Diamond Schmitt Architects, Inc.
Graphics: RSM Design
Artist/Fabricator/Installation: Brad Oldham and the Brad Oldham Sculpture Team

Additional Information

Brad Oldham and his team thought a lot about how a guitar pick is the bridge between musician and guitar. A simple, widely accessible guitar pick can substantially improve the quality of the music being created. The iconic shape of the guitar pick intuitively strikes a chord with viewers, and the second recognition comes when the overall image comes into focus. The sculpture has captured the attention of Texans, businesses, music lovers, and even other music legends. Sir Paul McCartney is among the engraved names on the die-cast aluminum guitar picks. The fact that this artwork not only provides several points of engaging experiences, but also actively generates funds for performing arts is incredibly rewarding. The reverberation of these 8,790 picks function to improve Lubbock’s quality of life today and provide resources for the future of performing arts in the region.