Client: Cleveland Public Library and LAND Studio
Location: Cleveland, OH, United States
Completion date: 2015
Artwork budget: $25,000
Andréa Keys Connell
Erin Guido, Joe Lanzilotta
SeeAlso was a commission to create a temporary installation inside of the Eastman Reading Garden for the Cleveland Public Library. This is a beloved public space where many people gather for lunch, and/or sit to find refuge from the city. There is a large amount of foot traffic that travels through this space on a daily basis. I was granted access to the entirety of the garden.
I have a deep affinity for public libraries. I believe in their mission as a free space for the passing on of creativity and knowledge. It was very important to me that my proposal and artwork represented the respect that I have for this public space. My installation stemmed from various stories from my childhood that I now read to my children. In one corner of the garden, a large lion is perched behind the bushes. In another corner is Minerva, pointing to a child perched on a chimneystack. Red birds form out of her arms and fly across the garden, perching on the bookcase that rests on the back of an elephant. My elephant is based off of Bernini’s Elephant and Obelisk located in the Piazza della Minerva in Rome, Italy. Inscribed on the plinth of Bernini’s elephant is the statement, You, whoever you are, who see that the figures of wise Egypt sculpted on the obelisk are being carried by an elephant, the strongest of beasts, understand that it is proof of a strong mind to sustain solid wisdom. This statement stood as the grounding source for the conception of this body of work.
I worked closely with LAND Studio through the conceptualization of this project, the organization of the installation, and the press coverage for this installation. I had significant creative freedom in the design and creation of the pieces for this project. I transported the work myself, and with the help of LAND staff, we installed all of the pieces ourself.
While this was a temporary installation, all of the pieces were created for permanent outdoor use. They are temporarily on display at a private estate in Northern, VA and are available for purchase and/or relocation.