Saint John the Baptist - CODAworx

Saint John the Baptist

Client: Privite

Location: Frederick, MD, United States

Completion date: 2023

Project Team

site work, stone work

Scott Brown

Damascus Enterprises


Rick Reeder

Mount Olivet Cemetery


The client family conducted a several year selection process looking for a sculptor to create a comprehensive modern sculptural work to represent their family for generations in a monumental work for their family’s group cemetery plots. Rodney Carroll was selected and through long conversations a collaborative process between client and sculptor developed that reached the heights and depths of life in meaning, purpose and existence. The collaboration resulted in the creation of sculptural work, “Saint John the Baptist”.


The clients have lived in Rome and were involved in the arts. They were impressed by sculptures from the Italian renaissance representing man and gods, telling narratives of glory, suffering and accomplishments. The sculpture needed to be timeless as it represented generations past and generations present to future. We decided on a garden setting where there is a defining stone wall, a curved paved walk to the central raised pedestal on which stands “Saint John the Baptist” with enveloping wings. The pedestal is spacious with steps inviting interaction. A pea gravel walk surrounds the pedestal contributing a slowed down contemplative stride softened with sound. Two benches flanking the sculpture are designed to complement the sculpture and also resonate with the symbiotic bronze and stone headstones. Through time, the headstones will populate the site and contribute more to the comprehensive design.

The site is defined by a low dry stone wall that is common in this area with an inviting entrance. Since this is a large corner location, we wanted the design to invite all visitors offering a place to sit and think. We share a view that there is great art work is in cemeteries and they are open air museums serving people in two worlds


There was a concern in placing a large abstract stainless steel sculpture in a traditional cemetery. Mount Olivet Cemetery is historic with a large bronze statue of Francis Scott Key at the entrance. They were open to our concept and shared our view of a cemetery as an outdoor museum accessible to all visitors. After seeing the proposal, they were welcoming with the idea of a modern abstract sculpture in the cemetery. “Saint John the Baptist” introduces a new direction for cemetery memorials and opens the concept of modern sculpture dignifying peoples lives. Although “Saint John the Baptist” challenges a new realm of acceptance, it follows the long tradition of sculptors from primitive through renaissance to now representing the soul of man.

Additional Information

Months of time and hours of conversations led to a warm collaboration process where every meaning of life was discussed. This was a lengthy design process that started out with a single sculpture and gradually developed piece by piece into a comprehensive project with a central sculpture, a supportive sculpture, benches, headstones, stone walls, landscaping and plot layout. My goal was to create a work that would live with this family for generations. Working on such a personal level for this project was challenging and rewarding.