Stream At Huffman Prairie

Submitted by Michelle Stitzlein

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Client: Dayton Metro Library - Main Branch

Location: Dayton, OH, United States

Completion date: 2019

Artwork budget: $10,000

Project Team

Artist

Michelle Stitzlein

Other

Nathaniel Stitzlein

Public Art Agent

Susan Anable, Project Manager

ReImagining Works with The Dayton Art Instiute

Other

Jim Balsano, Construction Owner's Representative

Dayton Metro Library

Overview

As an homage to Dayton, a city well known for innovation in industry, this piece was designed to bring awareness to the need for championing sustainability and new ideas in recycling/reuse as well as reducing needs for raw resources. Therefore, the work was created with repurposed materials including old garden hose, piano keys, and a mosaic of broken ceramic, plastic items, bottle caps, etc. I also utilized familiar items from the history of Montgomery County as well as numerous items from residents, patrons and local manufacturers. The piece measures 8'3″H x 4'3″W x 8″D.

Goals

The new Dayton Main Library is a beautiful showcase of contemporary architecture. It is a shining example of the progressive spirit that Dayton has always possessed. The history of the city and county as a hub of invention, experimentation and forward thinking is exemplified and continued with every structural angle, every tall open space and every light filled corner inviting patrons to open a book to study and grow. The artwork gracing the walls of this public magnet for learning should be no exception and should inspire, encourage inquisition and generate wonder. With this ethos in mind, I created a piece inspired by Huffman Prairie (where Wilbur and Orville Wright practiced their original flight experiments) in the impressionist style of Claude Monet’s "Waterlilies", a piece found in the collection of The Dayton Art Institute.

Process

After submitting a proposal and being awarded the commission, I worked with Susan Anable on publicity and gathering materials with local residents and library patrons. Discussions and meetings took place with Susan, Nathaniel Stitzlein and Jim Balsano about weight and structural concerns to ensure that the piece would be safely installed. Progress photos were e-mailed to Susan intermittently and then she met with me in my studio after the piece was laid out, for evaluation prior to final assembly. Nathaniel Stitzlein assisted with construction details and Nathaniel and Jim assisted with the installation.