Client: The Cleveland Foodbank
Location: Cleveland, OH, United States
Completion date: 2005
Artwork budget: $45,000
Slices of bread were encased in resin and installed in the lobby of the Cleveland Foodbank's new headquarters and distribution center. The grid that supported the tiles was 11' tall, reaching from floor to ceiling. The commission also included a donor wall, using engraved plexi panels mounted on tensioned cables.
Because the Foodbank was moving into a new, modern facility, the selection committee was looking for artwork that used a fresh, contemporary approach. I chose bread as a material for its symbolism as the staff of life. The wide variety of slices in the tiles is a metaphor for the diversity of the Foodbank's staff, and population that their work supports.
The bread slice tiles were fabricated in San Francisco using a unique, proprietary process that combines non-yellowing resin with plexi panels. In order to minimize costs, they were sized to fit a pre-existing grid used for glass block from a supplier in Texas. The donor wall tiles were cut and engraved in New York City, working from frequently-updated lists from Cleveland. A large part of the artist's job was coordinating these efforts and making sure installation was completed in time for the Foodbank's opening celebration. I also worked closely with the facility's architect to determine the exact location and lighting for the artwork.
The title of the project comes from a Yugoslavian proverb: "Grain by grain a loaf, stone by stone a castle." Cleveland has a diverse immigrant population, and Yugoslavians are a prominent part of it.