Client: Artworks Cincinnati
Location: Cincinnati, OH, United States
Completion date: 2014
Artwork budget: $135,000
The Verdin Company
Kinetic stainless steel music box sculptures are landmarks in the diverse Pendleton community. Interactive sculptures with Moire animations are activated by a crank, playing songs that evoke the rich history of the neighborhood, creating a soundscape. Extensive community engagement informed the design of the artwork via an “Our Town” grant. Materials: Aluminum, ceramic tile, stainless steel, paint, lexan.
Goal was to create gateway artwork that heralded entry to the historic, culturally diverse neighborhood of Pendleton, celebrating the vibrancy of this historically underserved community. Engagement revealed the neighborhood's significant role as a stop in the Underground Railroad; the North Star that guided escaping slaves became a significant motif.
This project involved extensive collaboration: Via an NEA "Our Town" Grant WOWHAUS spearheaded an array of hands-on community engagement initiatives including a participatory "Photo Safari" of the community, site assessments with community members, design charettes and more. In addition, WOWHAUS initiated collaborations with local businesses with great skill and craftsmanship: The historic Rookwood Tile Company made the custom tile designed by WOWHAUS; The Verdin Company, who has made bells and clocks for over 100 years, fabricated the sculptures. WOWHAUS also enlisted Reuge, a renowned music box maker in Switzerland, to create the large stainless steel music boxes, which are perhaps the largest kinetic music boxes ever made. (Reuge music boxes are typically tiny desktop pieces.) 3 engineers flew from Switzerland to work with WOWHAUS on the installation.
VIDEO LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZHCEOK4p_g