Crescent Pointe

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Client: Phillips Management Group

Location: North Charleston, SC, United States

Completion date: 2020

Artwork budget: $375,000

Project Team

Artist

Brad Oldham

Brad Oldham Sculpture

Artist

Christy Coltrin

Brad Oldham Sculpture

Client

Kevin Phillips

Phillips Management Group

Landscape Architect

Barry Whalen

HLA

Overview

As a family of stainless steel ducks paddle up a brick simulation of the Ashley River towards an internally lit crescent moon, they encounter another duck who is about to take flight. This scene captures a moment in a parable told by Danish theologian Soren Kierkegaard to emphasize the lasting importance of one’s actions. Instead of talking about flying, the elevated duck demonstrates how to join the moon in the skies above South Carolina. This 27.5-foot tall installation reminds viewers to do more than coast along the river like the ducks and instead push their skills and talents into action.

Crescent Pointe was so embraced by the owner/developer of this progressive, workforce-housing community and reflective of its location that the community adopted the name of the sculpture. Ducks are engrained into “low country” culture, especially in this location, which is literally formed around the rivers flowing from one of the oldest U.S. ports. The topography and natural resources along the Ashley River make this area historically suitable for brick making. In fact, historic maps show brick ovens located on this site. The installation incorporated indigenous material and wildlife into the sculpture design and narrative.

Goals

The initial goal was to create a placemaking sculpture to foster residents’ pride and welcome area community members and visitors to see the destination-worthy installation. To achieve this goal, we built upon our research of the physical location and considered other images associated with this location throughout history and took note of the crescent moon shape in the state flag, which traditionally suggests the moon at the moment just before and after its darkest phase. Since South Carolina developed from the port city of Charleston, and the moon was particularly important to these coastal communities as a celestial guide and force on ocean tides. We wanted our internally lit moon to be a guide residents home. The flock of ducks also helped achieve the unique goal of place by communicating a family theme to honor the family-owned company that developed the property and the many residents who live in this multi-family community.

Process

The Brad Oldham Sculpture team worked closely with Kevin Phillips of Phillips Management Group, who challenged the artists to find inspiration in the teachings of Soren Kierkegaard to create a monumental sculpture aligned with his Christian faith while creating an accessible narrative and visual around which a destination-worthy neighborhood could grow. As a third-generation real estate developer, Phillips understood that “newness” isn’t a sustainable point of difference in the marketplace. Instead, his goal was to have a timeless, fine-art destination that would become a beloved community icon and appreciated in value over the years. He wanted families to capture memories while engaging with the sculpture and enjoy a sense of pride in their homes.

As artists, we had the rare opportunity to visit the land before it was developed which allowed us to start the creative process of making site-specific artwork to born of its physical location. We collaborated with landscape architects from HLA in Charleston on the orientation of the artwork and the planting around the brick river.

Additional Information

When residents move into one of the nearly 500 an apartment homes at Crescent Pointe Apartments, their new-resident packet includes information on the sculpture and postcards featuring Crescent Pointe. Families enjoy picnics and outdoor activities near the installation, and many take photos with the ducks to mark the moment. The light inside the moon changes seasonally as well as to mark special occasions. All who visit Crescent Pointe Apartments drive by the sculpture, which has become a monumental welcome home for many.