Return - CODAworx


Submitted by Ralph Helmick

Client: The Cameron Foundation & The City of Hopewell, VA

Location: Hopewell, VA, United States

Completion date: 2018

Artwork budget: $450,000

Project Team

Industry Resource

Kevin Manning


Landscape Architect

Doug Lamson

Chroma Design


Ralph Helmick


Return 2018 is a monumental gateway sculpture located at the main entry/exit to Hopewell, VA. A 51-foot-tall letter H is rendered in “false perspective' and comprised of stainless steel pipe referencing the City's historic industrial heritage. While a static sculpture, its audience is primarily vehicular, resulting in a “kinetic art” experience.


Primary goals included celebrating the City's industrial heritage within a spectacular natural setting at the junction of the Appomattox and James Rivers. It's intended as a thought-provoking civic icon.


The project was overseen and primarily funded by The Cameron Foundation, a local non-profit, in collaboration with the City, which provided the site and landscaping. After a phase of deep local research I worked closely with the project landscape architect and City professionals, as well as with my fabricator.

Additional Information

The fabrication of the artwork employed over a mile of 2”-diameter stainless steel pipe weighing 9 tons. Approaced from either direction the artwork is visible from a distance of several hundred yards, optically shifting in ways akin to moiré patterns. The result is a “kinetic” sculpture where the viewer—not the artwork—is moving.