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 the 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. Materials: Stainless steel, powder-coated aluminum. 10’ x 12’ x 22’
I set out to engage the public and foster a sense of community around an unlikely object or site. The works are spirited, accessible, and very often unexpected. By using industrial materials and disparate elements in functional and participatory ways, my artwork aims to encourage engagement with the site, the work, and among the public itself. I do this by considering behavioral design and incorporating dynamic elements activated by people and the weather.
Metalab provided design development and fabrication documentation services for the vertical structure. As construction managers they coordinated with the fabrication and installation contractors.
I use materials from the everyday outdoor environment—anything from benches, to swings, to canopies, to water—& bring them into the realm of art. I create a level of connection to the familiar while highlighting elements of awe & beguilement, often using existing artifacts from the site and retrofitting them to create a micro public square or landmark that encourages creative patterns of use. The artwork becomes part of the community's fabric & integral in shaping the way we live in public space. The idea is to surprise while fostering a sense of community around an unlikely object or site.