Client: Encore McKinley Village, LLC
Location: Sacramento, CA, United States
Completion date: 2016
Artwork budget: $80,000
Marc Foster LLC
Public Art Agent
Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commisson
Encore McKinley Village, LLC
The sculptural installation titled, “La Feuille”; recognizes the importance of trees to the growth and health of an urban community. It is sited in a park at the entrance of McKinley Village, an infill housing development in Sacramento, CA. The installation is anchored by two brushed stainless steel leaves (20 ft and 15ft) that appear to have sprung out of the ground. Variable length, corten steel branches emerge from the base of the leaves and intermittently surface from the earth and then to a single horizontal leaf bench.
The artwork is critical to the overall design and spirit of McKinley Village. It is one of eleven artworks in the community whose streets and parks are named for Sacramento artists and art patrons. The artist was initially inspired by the shape of the community; which in plan view looks like a leaf. He wanted to honor Sacramento's commitment to trees as a source of shade and for cooling the urban landscape. Trees and green spaces are known to improve health, inspire physical activity, contemplation and recreation, and bring people together. "La Feuille" stands at the entrance to the development as a reminder of the community's commitment to caring for and developing Sacramento's urban forest; one of the largest in the world. It was vital to the artist that this be public art that visitors could physically connect with as well, and the leaf seating allowed for that integration to be seamless in the park setting. The installation itself is an identifying marker and a place for the community to sit, gather, and play.
Because the artwork is the first thing residents and visitors see upon entering the development, the landscape architect and development team wanted to work with a local artist to create a dramatic work of art that would show the character of place. It was a goal for both the artist and landscape architect to create an entrance that was inspiring, iconic, reflective of the character of the community, and distinguished the housing development from any other place in Sacramento. The team wanted artwork that was fully integrated into the site, not a stand-alone sculpture. The artist worked closely with the team to determine the scale, placement, sculpture surface materials, and siting of the artwork. This included reflectivity testing of the metal panels, as both trains and freeway vehicles could be affected by the size and location of the stainless steel components.
A huge impact on the quintessential feeling of a neighborhood is the natural environment it inhabits. Sacramento is one of the nation's ten best urban forests; old, beautiful trees make up an environment that resonates with visitors. McKinley Village, however, is a new development, devoid of the 100 year-old trees that are everywhere in the surrounding older neighborhoods. As the leaf is the organ of the tree relied upon for sustaining life; these leaves build and fuel this new community.