Xavier University Art Village – John T. Scott Sculpture Garden – Women’s House

Submitted by Daniel Dreher

0

Client: Xavier University

Location: New Orleans, LA, United States

Completion date: 2011

Project Team

Client

Dr. Norman Francis, President

Xavier University

Artist

John T. Scott

Xavier University

Architect

Miwako Hattori, Studio Director

Manning Architects

Architect

Stacy Danner, Project Architect

Manning Architects

Landscape Architect

Patrick Michaels

Manning Architects

Industry Resource

Walter Morton, Owner

Manufab - Custom Metal Fabrications

Art Consultant

Ayo Scott

NOYO Designs

Industry Resource

Ron Harwood, Founder

Illuminating Concepts

Industry Resource

Kelly Stechschulte, Project Manager

Illuminating Concepts

Client

Rawn Davis, Owner's Representative

Xavier University

Client

Marion Bracy, VP Facilities Planning

Xavier University

Client

Irving Johnson III, Project Photographer

Xavier University

Client

Nora Olgay, Chair & Assoc. Professor

Xavier University - Art Department

Industry Resource

Jim Landis, Founder

Landis Construction Company, LLC

Public Art Agent

Arthur Roger, Owner

Arthur Roger Gallery

Overview

This site-specific sculpture serves as an anchor and dynamic focal point for the newly created John T. Scott Sculpture Garden, set among a transformed collection of loosely associated buildings into the Xavier University Art Village compound in New Orleans, Louisiana. The sculpture, multi-purpose gardens and teaching enclave have become crowning jewels in the local community that celebrate the life and prolific gifting of this New Orleans born iconic artist-educator and former MacArthur Foundation Fellow who taught and practiced his artistic crafts from 1965 through 2005 as Head of Xavier University’s Art Department until his untimely passing in 2007.

Goals

Following the aftermath of Katrina, with FEMA funding, Xavier University in collaboration with Manning Architects responded to a series of strategic goals that involved a radical transformation of the flooded art department's administrative, classroom and studio facilities housed in a series of loosely connected buildings into a remarkably inspirational, unified micro-campus environment. The Art Village compound and John T. Scott Sculpture Garden has fostered new creative synergies becoming a major catalyst for the west campus expansion as part of Xavier’s overall Master Plan implementation. Additional goals involved selective interior and exterior renovations of the three existing buildings, a redesigned site drainage system, which utilized pervious paving stones at the pedestrian mall, and within the confines of the sculpture garden, created a rain garden to further mitigate deluge rain events common to New Orleans. The use of metal awnings and painting of the building exteriors satisfied aesthetic goals to create a common vernacular among the buildings. The installation of decorative metal and masonry perimeter walls provides added security while maintaining a high degree of transparency within the Gert Town neighborhood it serves. The unimagined dream for this project, however, was creating a permanent place for “Women’s House.”

Process

The John T. Scott Sculpture Garden and integrated siting of “Women’s House” were not part of the original project scope, but emerged through a series of fortuitous events and the extraordinary generosity of friends of the artist-educator. Prior to Katrina’s flooding, a partially-renovated metal building (former Wood Shop) stood at the heart of the gardens. In conjunction with FEMA, this building was demolished and funds were re-allocated to further serve the larger project goals. Demolishing the metal building created a unique opportunity for the emergence of the sculpture and rain gardens and subsequent permanent setting for “Women’s House.” The last large-scale metal sculpture created by the artist-educator before his passing, the aluminum upper half of “Women's House” was salvaged from his Katrina-flooded and ransacked New Orleans East Studio and bequeathed to Xavier University exclusively for this Art Village project . In addition to dramatic pedestal lighting along the pedestrian mall, the sculpture’s concrete foundation, aluminum base (fabricated from the artist’s sketches and wood maquette) and adjacent Cor-Ten steel lawn wedge feature, which partially frames the gardens, were all made possible through generous donations of family, friends, former colleagues and life-long creative collaborators of the artist.

Additional Information

["Both the light and the shadow are the dance of love"-Rumi] Creating the sculpture gardens became the ultimate expression of community coming together to fulfill the promise of a brighter tomorrow, guided by artistic vision. Through the creation of "Women's House," John sought to celebrate the grace, dignity and beauty of strong women that had impacted and shaped his own life's journey. His embodied messages of compassion, generosity, courageous deeds and creative spirit for all those he mentored and befriended were most passionately expressed in his own words of a deeply-held spiritual conviction as "Pass It On."