Client: City of Roanoke, Virginia
Location: Roanoke, VA, United States
Completion date: 2020
Artwork budget: $25,000
Design, Fabrication and Installation
Auto Cad 3D Design Layout
Asheville sculptor, David Sheldon, says he was “thrilled to be selected from a very competitive, nationwide pool of prospective sculptors” to create a piece for the 811/E911 Call Center in Roanoke, Virginia. The proposal for the front-entrance sculpture required a large piece that suggested themes of safety, communication, service, and care appropriate for a facility that handles countless emergency calls. Sheldon began fabricating the piece — which lights up at night for a beacon effect — in January, and installation was scheduled for mid March. But then the pandemic hit, and things took an ironic twist. The task became how to safely install “Guidance Tower,” itself a tribute to safety, while maintaining social distancing. With help from Sheldon’s son, Chris, assistant Daniel Beach, and numerous officials in Roanoke, including City Engineer Luke Pugh and Director of E911 Services Sonya Roman, “Guidance Tower” was installed in one day. “It was truly an honor to be able to complete this project during such a challenging time,” says Sheldon. “Guidance Tower” is made of aluminum, steel and stainless steel, and stands 15′ high with base, and 4′ wide.
The primary goal was to create a sculpture at the entranceway to the new 811/E911 Blue Hills Communication Center that would incorporate themes of safety, communication, service and care and serve as a heralding symbol for the center. The abstracted forms of two inter-connected figures (sharing a stainless steel globe 'head') with outraised 'arms' creates a powerful, modern presence to accent the modern building. LED lights incorporated into the sculpture create a beacon effect, with shafts of light directed through the center of the sculpture and into the night sky above.