The Guardians - CODAworx

The Guardians

Client: M_NCPPC, PG County

Location: Brandywine, MD, United States

Artwork budget: $200,000

Project Team


Judy Sutton Moore


Industry Resource

ART Reseach Enterprises, Inc.

ART Research Enterprises, Inc.


During construction a 150yr old, specimen willow oak tree was discovered. The willow oak tree became the inspiration for The Guardians. The design is a willow oak leaf split in half and stylized. The Guardians unique feature is a sun alignment. A sun alignment results from the use of shadows and sunlight to create a unique pattern. Every day a shadow is cast by The Guardians allows a line of sunlight to fall between the shadows of the sculpture . The shadow with its shaft of light points directly to the willow oak tree now call Willie Oak. This alignment occurs every day at approximately 1:00 pm.


The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Prince George’s Department of Parks and Recreation sought a free-standing artwork to be integrated into the architectural design and landscape of the Southern Area Aquatics and Recreation Complex (SAARC). The work must meet standards of durability and longevity. More specifically, artists were expected to work with materials and fabrication processes that will result in a projected useful life of not less than twenty-five years for their projects, assuming normal maintenance. The design of the artwork was to be iconic and give identity to the community. All of these goals were successfully completed with the installation of The Guardians.


The artist worked in collaboration with the Yvonne T. Johnson, AIA , NCARB Design and Construction Manager- Architecture, Alec Simpson, Coordinator for Public Art from the Maryland National Capital Parks and Planning Commission, Prince George County and ART Research Enterprises to insure the successful completion of the project. Before developing a design the artist visited the site and meet with community members to learn their desires and expectation for the art. The artist’s inspiration for The Guardians came from this site visit and meeting. Scale models were created by the artist and used for fabrication of the sculpture. The artist and the staff at ART Research Enterprises worked hand-in-hand during the fabrication. ART Research Enterprises coordinated the transporting of the oversize sculpture. Installation was a smooth operation with the site preparation done by the artist, the supervision and coordination with the crane company and the hands on of ART Research Enterprises staff in the removal of the sculpture from the truck and installation at the site.

Additional Information

The Guardians is an abstraction of the willow oak leaf and is a tribute to the specimen tree that symbolizes the community of Brandywine. The Guardians, like the tree and the building is majestic in its elegance and strength of design. Southern Area Aquatic Recreation Center, Brandywine, MD 2019, Stainless Steel, 20’H x 8’W x 6’D.