The Violinist-Bert Smith Memorial Garden-Flint Institute of Music - CODAworx

The Violinist-Bert Smith Memorial Garden-Flint Institute of Music

Submitted by Suzanne Johnson

Client: Flint Institute Of Music

Location: Flint, United States

Completion date: 2009

Project Team


Suzanne Johnson

Suzanne Johnson Sculpture Design, L.L.C.


Flint Institutue of Music


Flint Institute of Music, school of performing arts, is the largest community school of the arts in Michigan, and one of the largest in the U.S.


The primary goal was to honor Bert Smith with a memorial flower garden, an inviting space for pedestrians of the cultural center, students, and families. The secondary goal was to create a focal point within the garden space that would serve the identity of Flint Institute of Music, south entrance when viewed from Kearsley Street.


The collaboration process was between key individuals, appointed to the project steering committee and the sculptor. There were multiple productive meetings to address discussions and suggestions and to give shape to the details of the project. The following are some of the outcomes of the collaboration process; The violin was chosen as a feature instrument, an addition of a figurative sculpture was approved, the gender of the violinist sculpture was chosen, and the distance of the building from the street determined the scale of a life size bronze figure for visibility. The school requested the bronze sculpture be representative of an approximate age of an accomplished student rather than a young beginner student, but emphasized that in fairness to all students it should not be a portrayal of a specific student. The school expressed a desire that the bronze be representative of an actual correct student posture, hand, violin and bow position to produce an actual note if played. Several options were looked at with a student violinist and the most appropriate was chosen. The project progressed smoothly and amicably, thanks to all the participants.

Additional Information

The Bert Smith Memorial Sculpture Garden was dedicated during the Flint Symphony Orchestra Gala Dinner.