Client: New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Location: Albuquerque, NM, United States
Completion date: 2013
Artwork budget: $78,000
Integrated with the site and the architecture, The Huddle addresses the school’s need for a shaded area outside the confines of the school building for parents, children, and staff to meet. Supporting the notion of universal access and meeting the needs of wheelchair-bound children, the gently swaying bench is designed for both wheelchairs and traditional seating. The streaks of sunlight on the ground help guide partially sighted children to the school’s front entrance.
New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Albuquerque, NM
10’ x 12’ x 22’
Stainless steel, powder-coated aluminum
The school requested the artwork be a shady meeting and gathering place for students, faculty, and parents that would be experiential for their blind and visually-impaired students.
Geller’s process always begins with stakeholder and community engagement which could include learning about the area's history, gaining insight into the community’s vision for the site, and brainstorming about what would enrich and bring together their diverse community.
Metalab provided project management, design development, and fabrication oversite services.
In his public art practice, Matthew Geller’s participatory sculptures become one of the building blocks that make a space a destination. As such, the work activates the site and promotes interaction among visitors, often creating intimate moments in a singularly public space. Part of his work’s success is that it is physically experiential: viewers understand that there is a place for themselves in it. His sculptures enable moments of respite and delight, befitting the site's functional and visual context. He purposefully uses materials from the everyday environment creating a level of connection to the familiar while highlighting elements of awe and beguilement. The idea is to surprise while fostering the sense of an inclusive community around an unlikely object or location, creating a micro public square or landmark. By considering behavioral design and incorporating dynamic elements activated by people and changes in the weather, the resulting work is in constant flux. Ultimately, the artwork’s goal will be to engender a sense of wonder, enhancing the community and visitor experience.