Client: The Arts Commission for the City of Toledo
Location: Toledo, OH, United States
Completion date: 2021
Artwork budget: $200,000
Matt Niebuhr and David Dahlquist
The Art Studio at RDG Planning & Design
RDG Planning & Design
Raker Rhodes Engineering, LLC
Johnson Machine Works, Inc.
Allied Construction Services., Inc.
C. Green Contractor, Inc.
The sculpture “Vessel” celebrates community through forms and colors that are rooted in history and place. A new commission by The Arts Commission’s “Art in Public Places Program” partnering with Mercy Health, “Vessel” serves as a site specific public artwork and an iconic anchoring element located in the Cherry Street Corridor Roundabout in Toledo, Ohio.
Anchoring the Cherry Street Corridor, forms and colors are rooted in history and place. A base of gray slate relates to the "black swamp" that was drained by settlers of Toledo. A matte silver finish in stainless steel honors the Grey Nuns who selflessly cared for early Toledo residents, and a bold yellow interior is inspired by the Marguerite daisy. Toledo’s glassmaking heritage is evoked by silhouettes suggesting vessels while other ever-changing shapes suggest petal forms. The patterns on the form are derived from the surrounding neighborhood building footprints and celebrate the community creating a colorful everchanging figure/ground play of light and shadow.
Site-specific research, artistic fact finding, stakeholder interviews, community interactions & site visits, were critical to the conceptual development of "Vessel". Community open house meetings and dialogue about the conceptual idea created an opportunity to engage with residents and to share insights about elements of history of Toledo and the texture of the surrounding neighborhood leading to the inspiration for the patterning on the steel forms reflecting the many homes and pubic spaces dear to the community.
An anchoring element to the corridor, the cheerful color and every subtly changing reflections on the surfaces of hand finished, laser cut stainless steel create a welcoming beacon for visitor and residents alike along the daily commute.