Shielded

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Client: Saint Petersburg, Florida Police Department

Location: Saint Petersburg, FL, United States

Completion date: 2019

Artwork budget: $380,000

Project Team

Artist

Mark Aeling

MGA Sculpture Studio

Client

City of St. Petersburg, Florida

Saint Petersburg Police Department

Overview

A 30-foot aluminum eagle wing hangs from the atrium of the St. Petersburg Police Department to welcome visitors as they enter the station. They are comforted by the wing’s presence, which is comprised of 236 individual feathers flying high above.

In 2018, the City of St. Petersburg, Florida commissioned a two-piece sculptural project to celebrate its new police department headquarters. As a local artist whose efforts and heart remain loyal to his city, Mark won the project and completed it in 2019 with a budget of $380,000.

More information at: https://www.mgasculpture.com/st-petersburg-police-department

Goals

The St. Petersburg Police Department looked for two things when commissioning these pieces: (1) Works that were inviting to the public; would soften the department's image; and add to the city's rich appreciation for art; and (2) Sculptures that the officers could be proud of, connecting the building and space with a feeling of duty and pride.

"Shielded" is based on the wing of an eagle, a bird that embodies American spirit. Furthermore, the wing form is a take on protection, as those who enter the police station are often victims in need of help. To be underneath one's wing, the piece is meant to evoke a feeling of comfort and protection.

Process

MGA worked closely with the St. Petersburg Police Department to design this piece as a gift to the city for years to come. “Shielded” and its mate “Gladiolus” were designed while the new department was under construction, so MGA had to work with a multitude of architects, construction managers, builders, and engineers to incorporate the sculptures with the rest of the building to be ready for the grand opening. At the end of the day, the piece was successful in embodying the values of the department and honoring the first responders.

Additional Information

"Shielded" presented unique installation challenges. Although each aluminum feather is light (from one pound to 100 lbs. and 17 feet long), they are each individually suspended at different angles. The team had to first create and install the piece in the studio, then deconstruct it entirely to reconstruct in its final space.