Martin Luther King

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Client: City of Aurora

Location: Aurora, CO, United States

Completion date: 2015

Artwork budget: $105,000

Project Team

Artist

Jeffery L. Hall

Jeff Hall Studio

Industry Resource

John Buteyn

Colorado Hardscapes

Industry Resource

Chris Wolf

E&C Precast

Industry Resource

Tony Workman

Art Castings of Colorado

Industry Resource

Lisa Hennen

Coldspring

Public Art Agent

Mary Koernig

Aurora's Art in Public Places

Overview

The international competition was for the creation of a 7 ft. bronze of Martin Luther King Jr. in front of the existing Martin Luther King Library. The buildings alcove was not centered with the long rectangular grass lawn that went to the street. This made for a difficult placement of the statue visually from the street. The challenge was to ease that delineation by moving the sculpture farther away from the building and centering the statue with the grass lawn, then designing a circle plaza that went into the grass area and blend the offset with organic cement benches

Goals

My main objective was to create a sense of place with an intimate setting. This is a library and I could picture children gathered around the statue while learning about history. The sense of place was achieved by adding a semicircle of new cement into the grass. This additional cement expanded the viewing space in front of the statue and started to create a more organic setting. We then put a 20ft. circle of textured colored epoxy Micro Topping on the cement with a colored boarder. That freshened up the old cement and both framed the statue while expanding its presents. The statue was kept accessible on a low round step pedestal of granite. Curved custom benches were placed on either side to further enhance the intimate setting, creating the sense of place. The custom cement benches have an organic design to compliment the circular design and ease the offset of the building with the grass lawn. The benches were placed overlapping the new and old cement walk at each end making it as one. A row of bushes will be place behind the benches to connect them with the lawn.

Process

I kept the work by contractors in the Denver area. The bronze was cast at Art Castings of Colorado .The extra cement work and epoxy Micro Topping was done by Colorado Hardscapes. The benches were designed by me but getting them made was tough. Most of the cast stone companies around the country wanted to make a hard mold which was not cost effective. Chris Wolf at E&C precast who happened to also be in Colorado transferred my drawings into a cad and then cut the mold out of foam, then poured the cement into the foam mold. This process helped to keep my original organic shaped benches fluid. Designing something is one thing, getting them made is another.