Client: Reiman Gardens, Iowa State University
Location: Ames, Iowa, United States
Completion date: 2015
Artwork budget: $15,000
We were inspired by the mission of the garden to educate, enchant, and inspire an appreciation of plants, butterflies, and the beauty of the natural world. This led us to the research and inspiration of the life, anatomy and transformational experiences that certain butterfly species undergo. The Metaphotonic treePOD is not only inspired by the process of metamorphosis, but also by the structure of the chrysalis, and the photonic character of microscopic scales that cover certain butterfly species. In essence, certain butterfly wings structures are not pigmented but rather they obtain their colors by manipulating light though their wing structures.
I believe that the goals for integrating this commission artwork was what I have learned that public art has the ability to do and this is, to create memorable experiences in the minds of those who engage with it. It has been fascinating to me to see members of the community and even my own kids engage with the artwork and how it produces laughter, curiosity and brings about questions about the process and inspiration.
I had the opportunity to collaborate with Curt Engelhardt, a good friend and talented individual. I believe that our complimentary backgrounds in Art, Architecture and Landscape Architecture truly helped bring forth a great solution. I truly believe in collaboration and how it brings forth the best of every individual of the team. We were also extremely grateful for the number of sponsors that believed in this vision and contributed in so many ways. This project would have never been built without their wonderful contributions. We would like to honor the following companies: Lowe`s, Kreg Tool Company, G.C. Woodworking, Raker Rhodes Engineering, McClanahan Studio, RDG Planning & Desing, Sargent Metal Fabricating, Beeline Blue, Premier Powder Coating and Liberty Hardwood.
I think public art opportunities that are interactive and allow for members of the community to engage with it become extraordinary places. We should all, look for ways to embrace art and truly value its ability to truly make a difference. We should perhaps see public art under a different lens not only as an amenity but rather as a vehicle that helps engage and foster the minds and experiences of the next generation. I truly believe that this project has played a small part in this vision.