Client: The State of Utah Public Art Program
Location: Ogden, UT, United States
Completion date: 2018
Artwork budget: $140,000
David Griggs LLC
As a person walks towards the front door of the Weber Valley Youth Center, they encounter a series of colorful ribbon-like shapes suspended from the building’s entrance canopy. These fanciful twisted shapes flow towards the door and intertwine to form a stronger current – a river of motion. The forms disappear into the architecture, and then reappear on the terrazzo floor inside the building. The ribbons have been transformed into a colorful river of terrazzo on the lobby floor. This river twists and turns, flowing further into the lobby space. Embedded in the terrazzo river are magnifying glasses that showcase the small creatures and microinvertebrates of the nearby Weber River. Outside, similar magnifying glasses are mounted on the ribbon mesh, while inside they become unique embeds in the terrazzo floor. Visitors to the Youth Center can follow the ribbon-river inside, exploring the magnifying glasses and discovering the variety of microscopic life that the nearby river supports.
The project was inspired by the experiences of the people who use this facility. Most of the visitors to the Weber Valley Youth Center do not come by choice. They are typically adolescents and family members, and they are compelled to visit the Youth Center because of behavior deemed inappropriate. Considering their circumstances, the project was designed to suggest that their current situation is part of a larger journey. The journey is shared by many others, who are along to console and also to help understand this process as a learning experience.
This project included the several collaborators typical of a public art project, with the addition of a Microbiologist and a Bronze Caster. Both areas of the design, the exterior ribbons and the interior terrazzo floor, include life-sized magnifying glasses embedded in the design. Cast in bronze, these magnifying glasses reveal the small creatures that inhabit the nearby Weber River that runs into the Great Salt Lake. A local Microbiologist identified these creatures, and a Bronze Caster created the details. For those youth and families entering the facility, these details offer a welcome distraction and relief from their immediate circumstances.