Client: Washington DC Public Schools
Location: Washington, DC, United States
Completion date: 2022
Artwork budget: $70,000
Dept. of General Services
Commissioned for Randle Elementary School by DC Department of General Services and Washington DC Public Schools, Vespa is a colorful, abstract hornet designed to appeal to people of all ages. Made entirely from repurposed LP tanks this sculpture is intended to be enjoyed for its aesthetic qualities as well as foster climate awareness in young minds.
Dimensions: The height to the wing tips is 10 feet and the feet fit within a six by six foot square.
Originally constructed in 1911, the Elizabethan-style building received a $13.5 million modernization completed in 2022. An exterior location at the entrance plaza between buildings was selected as a spot for site specific public art that would welcome students to the building and meet the following criteria:
● Incorporate context of the local community, with sensitivity to the history, traditions and iconography that uplift the pride of the community
● Be engaging and enjoyable to individuals of all ages and backgrounds
• Fabricated from durable, low-maintenance material that can withstand the elements and require minimal maintenance
• Be able to withstand a school environment with very active children
● Adhere to requisite ADA and safety regulations
● Be designed to last for at least 50 years
After a national public art RFQ, five finalists were asked to create concepts for the site. Colin Selig's proposal for a hornet mascot sculpture was awarded the commission. Designed in 3D modeling software, the selection committee was able to see an animated version of the design as well as consider various color options.
The sculpture was fabricated in the artist's studio by repurposing large, regionally sourced scrap steel propane tanks, which were carefully dissected and reassembled without any additional re-shaping of the material, a process with a minimal carbon footprint which produces durable objects that contain 99% post-consumer reused content. All parts were seam welded together to form a very rigid structure with no flat surfaces or pockets for water to collect. All welds and edges were sanded smooth. The sculpture was coated in a high quality urethane paint.