Client: R.B. Long Federal Courthouse / Federal Government Art in Architecture Program
Location: Baton Rouge, LA, United States
Completion date: 1994
Artwork budget: $100,000
Arthur Stern Studios
Raymond (Skipper) Post, FAIA, past National AIA president
Public Art Agent
Susan Harrison Program Manager, Art in Architecture Program
Federal Government / G.S.A.
This project included an ensemble of three related installations at the R.B. Long Federal Courthouse: "Torchere" ( 10' tall x 5' wide x 6" deep), a bas-relief lobby sculpture built of cherry wood, metal, and glass and two large leaded glass windows titled "Sentinels" (17' wide x 13' high) and "Tall Sentinels"(17' wide x 15' high), featuring hand-blown glass and beveled glass prisms.
There was an old Art Deco Courthouse next door that this building was replacing, and I used geometric detailing I saw there as inspiration for my improvised designs in this contemporary building. I integrated my designs into the new Courthouse, matching the shapes and materials in the lobby and then featuring a red, white, blue, and gold color scheme for the art glass windows.
I created designs that featured overall balance and symmetry to represent the balance of justice. There were actually three federal judges on the Public Art jury, along with other government officials, and they appreciated a design that was both balanced and respectful to the architecture.
How often does an artist get to work for his country?! My Mother was very proud at the dedication where she sat next to the Governor's wife, and watched as they had me in the Lobby next to the sculpture in a roped off area for the public to meet. This project has been widely published in both books and magazines.